Like that first day of kindergarten, it can be hard to know whom sleep-away camp drop off is most difficult for — us parents, or our quivering offspring, suddenly thrust into independence and all that comes with it. And these days, the disconnection is even more abrupt. Our phones allow us stay in touch during the regular school year, making even a few hours without contact tough. When I was young, it wasn’t unusual to spend a day without seeing or talking to my parents, and if a parent was away, we had to settle for a long-distance phone call every few days. These days we are blessed (or cursed) with the ability to keep in almost constant contact.
At camp, traditions die hard, and the connections to home — physical and digital — are meant to be severed, if temporarily. That digital umbilical cord known as a cellphone is suddenly and unceremoniously cut, leaving kids feeling homesick, and more often than not leaving us a bit kid-sick. Research shows that homesick kids fall into two groups. Eighty percent of kids have a constant low-level homesickness, while the remaining 20 percent start with high levels that then increase. Even for those children, though, the pangs appear to get better a few days before pickup.
Read on for tips to make separation easier for kids and parents.