Children look forward to the fun times in summer camps or sleepover parties at friends' place or when they get together for assignments— they know they are in for funtimes. The very thought of staying away from home for a night, to hang out with friends- away from the same old bed, in the same old room, in the same old house, makes them jump with joy.
This joy doesn’t last long in most kids as they begin to miss home, their bed, their parents and all the everyday stuff at home which they have become so used to. It becomes difficult for them to fall asleep at a friend's house without the sound of their mother working in the kitchen and their father watching TV in the next room.This makes them feel scared and a little insecure.
There is nothing to worry about in this. It is a very common phenomenon from which not only children, but most of us adults go through. It is called homesickness.Homesickness can occur to any extent in nearly everyone leaving familiar surroundings and entering a new environment.
As being guardians to children, it is our duty to help them out when they feel homesick. How do we figure it out? How can it be avoided? Let's find out.
How do we find out?
When children are homesick, they are not sick in the usual way, like when they have a cold or fever. Homesickness brings with it certain changes in mood, like the child gets upset, sad, and even scared. The child might break into tears all of a sudden. He/she mightalso experience headache, stomachache or both.
How do we help the child?
The very first thing to do is to tell the child that it is very normal to feel homesick. We can try out the following things too -
Carry along a little bit of home
If the child is going away from home, ask the child to takehis/her cosy blanket, soft pillow or a favouritepyjama along with him/her. The childcan also carry along pictures of his/her dear and near ones to feel 'in place'.
Keep them busy
The more fun stuff the child is engaged in, the less time he/she feels homesick. It can be group activities, games, dance and music. At sleepovers, the child can involve himself/herself in fun games and activities and movie watching! Keeping the children involved and engaged is the key ingredient.
Stay in touch
This is the most effective remedy. If the child is on an overnight visit, ask him/her to call you before sleeping and maybe once again in the morning. The child can stay in touch with family through texts too! In camps, writing letters to family can be a good activity. This activity can be fun and will help the child to learn writing letters at the same time.
Talk to someone
Sometimes, just venting the heart out or getting a shoulder to cry on, can give the child renewed energy to fight homesickness. Encourage the child to make friends and seek support from trusted adults when he/she isaway from home.
With these mentioned remedies, the guardians can definitely help the child beat homesickness and enjoy their summer camps or sleepovers.