Homesickness is a universal phenomenon, which is experienced by people from all walks of life, especially kids and teenagers. You must equip yourself with some tips to combat the same.
We all are familiar with homesickness, and most of us have experienced it at some point of our lives. It is a psychological state, which is caused by separation from the home environment, parents, or even some objects of attachment. The separation can be actual or anticipated. This feeling may lead to anxiety and depression, which can range from mild to severe.
Even though homesickness is experienced by people of all ages, it is mostly seen in kids and teenagers. Kids develop a sense of helplessness on attending the first day at school or during summer camps. This separation anxiety is common among teenagers too, as they start their life in boarding schools or universities. This does not mean that adults are not prone to this condition. They may also feel the same, but the intensity can be lesser, as compared to younger ones.
In simple terms, homesickness can be defined as the feeling of missing home, especially parents and loved ones. Every person develops attachment to parents, home, and objects at home, during their childhood days. This attachment makes it difficult for kids to get adjusted to unfamiliar surroundings without the presence of their parents.
Kids’ summer camps and sleepovers can give rise to separation anxiety and homesickness. While some people face depression and anxiety, it can be a cause for adjustment disorders in others. It can also cause some emotional, cognitive or physical symptoms. Symptoms, like health problems are often found in extreme cases. Some people may develop a suicidal tendency as a result of homesickness.
In short, homesickness is a feeling that can affect people in a negative way. While some people get adjusted to the new surroundings, others find it difficult to cope up with the situation and face psychological damage. However, combating the condition is not that difficult.
How to Deal with Homesickness in Kids
There is no other place in the world like home. This holds right for every human being, and even animals. Feeling homesick is a natural phenomenon, which has to be overcome with time, or as you get older. However, in case of kids who are more prone to develop homesickness, their parents can help them out with the following tips.
» Parents play an important role in helping their kids to overcome homesickness. You have to make them understand that they are going for a short stay and will be coming back, within a few days. It will be better to involve them while taking decisions about their stay away from home.
» You can explain to them the benefits of the trip, or about other kids, who are going to accompany them. Try to build up a feeling of excitement in them, so that it overshadows the separation anxiety.
» Their favorite teddy bear or a pillow or a blanket, can work wonders as homesickness remedies. Pack such things along with other articles.
» You can make them mentally prepared by giving a rough idea about the people they are going to meet, or the places they are going to visit.
» If possible, introduce your kids to other camp mates and teachers, beforehand. Finding familiar faces will reduce their tension and anxiety to a great extent.
» Encourage them to make new friends and engage themselves in interesting activities, during their stay away from home. You may also convey the same to the adults who are going to stay with the kids.
» Even if you are worried about your kids, don’t let them sense your emotions. This may make things worse for them.
» You must stay in touch with your kids when they are away, especially for the first time. If the duration of the stay is long, you can ask them to communicate through letters and phone calls.
» If all the measures fail to make your child ready for the trip or stay, then don’t force them. Give them some more time to get adjusted to the fact they have to stay away from home for sometime.
It is really a good idea to let the kids stay with their grandparents for a few days, before they go for a summer camp or a sleepover for the first time. This will prepare them to stay away from their parents and home. In case your child successfully completes such a trip or overnight stay, don’t forget to praise and encourage them.
Tips to Get Rid of Homesickness
In most cases, adults and teenagers are capable of handling their emotions on their own. Parents can help them to overcome the condition to some extent, but personal efforts can be far more beneficial. For teenagers, homesickness develops during their first year in boarding schools or colleges. The unfamiliar atmosphere and new people may make them homesick, and they long to get back to their home. Let us take a look at how to cure homesickness.
Make New Friends
This is one of the golden rules to combat homesickness, as loneliness can make things worse. There is no point in spending time thinking about your old friends and feeling lonely. Interact with new people and make friends with like-minded people. You may also find others who have left their home, and are going through the same phase. Local friends can help you out in getting acquainted with the new surroundings.
Indulge in Interesting Activities
Always keep yourself busy. Invest your time in some interesting activities. If you enjoy reading, join the local library. Visit the museum, park, or the restaurants nearby. Visit the local stores and do some shopping. You may also join some extra classes and try to learn something new. Start a new hobby, like painting, writing, or knitting. You may join a club and indulge in group activities. This will also help you in finding new friends.
Enjoy Your New Surroundings
Though you feel bad to have left your old friends, home and your native place, you have to move on. You must start loving your new surroundings and the people around you. Think of the good things about the new place. You can try to learn the local language and understand more about their culture and traditions.
Stay in Touch with Your Loved Ones
Above all, it is very important to stay in touch with your parents, old friends, and other loved ones. You can write letters, make phone calls, or communicate through e-mail. Social networking sites are also useful to keep in touch with your old friends. You can also visit them occasionally, if you miss them very badly.
Give Yourself Some Time
You must understand that it will take some time to get adjusted to the new surroundings. It will never happen in a day or two. So instead of feeling frustrated, give yourself some time. Take it as an adventure trip, which can offer you with some great experiences that will make you handle the future in a better way.
In short, homesickness is an emotional condition that you will eventually get over. You must make conscious efforts to control it. If you think that you cannot do the same, seek the help of a counselor or psychologist. It is the responsibility of the parents to get their kids overcome homesickness and make them self-reliant.