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Summer Camps: Handling ‘camp-sickness’

Much has been written about how to deal with homesickness at summer camp, but to many parents’ surprise, the post-camp letdown can leave some kids feeling tired, moody, unusually quiet and even downright grumpy.

The American Camp Association refers to the after-camp blues as “camp-sickness” and offers these suggestions for comforting the afflicted:

• Welcome the camper home by helping him or her relax and adjust to the slower pace of non-camp life. Suggest a warm shower, and encourage plenty of rest.

• Serve one of the child’s old favorites for dinner.

• Encourage your child to reconnect with friends from the neighborhood or school. Arrange get-togethers to help re-establish a sense of belonging with friends they have not seen in a while.

• Suggest your child write a letter or email or make a phone call to camp friends.

• Be open and available to listen to those camp stories. Allowing your child to reflect on camp friends, a favorite experience at camp and what they miss most about camp will help.

• If possible, organize a small reunion of local camp friends.

• Be supportive and understanding, and remind your child that next summer is not that far away!

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