Developing Independence At Sleepaway Summer Camps: 3 Tips To Help Deal With Homesickness

Being away from home for the first time can be both an adventure and a source of stress for some children. Studies show that 19% of children experience some type of distress at some point in time when they're away for camp. 6% of those children struggle with chronic homesickness. If you're sending your child away to a sleepaway summer camp for the first time, here are 3 tips on how you can ease the transition for them and help prevent homesickness, so they can enjoy the adventure a little better.

Let Your Child Bring a Sentimental Item to Comfort Them

The unfamiliar environment and schedule can really throw some kids off. This is especially true for those who are more rigid in their habits. When packing for sleepaway summer camps, let your child choose to bring an item that they are particularly attached to with them. This can be a small blanket, a stuffed animal, a favorite toy, or even a book. Some children even prefer bringing along a framed photo.

Write Them a Letter for Them to Open When at the Camp

Being away from home can be scary, and it's vital that you encourage and praise your child as much as possible. This helps build confidence and independence. Write your child a letter detailing how proud you are of them, and pack it in with their other belongings. They can read the letter when they arrive at camp or when they're starting to feel down.

Choose a Camp that Offers Counselling Services

As it is not unusual for some children to feel homesick when they are away at camp, many sleepaway summer camps offer counselling services that will help the children learn how to deal with and analyse their emotions. These counselors are also there to help with other issues as well. If you're particularly worried about your child and whether or not they'll feel homesick, look for a camp that offer counselling services at any time. The counselor should hold a permanent position at the camp and have office hours that cater to the children's schedules.


Sleepaway summer camps can help build character. They are also a lot of fun and a great adventure. Your child will have the opportunity to learn many different skills, and also socialize with other children. By taking measures ahead of time, you can increase the likelihood that your child will have a good time and reduce the chances of them feeling stressed and homesick while at the camp.