How to Handle Homesickness in a Preteen

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Your preteen could experience homesickness at any time, whether she is away at summer camp, at a friend’s house for a sleepover or even on vacation with you and the rest of the family. There is no rhyme or reason to homesickness other than the fact that your preteen misses home, her room, her family or her friends. The familiarity of home provides an innate comfort to your preteen and when she misses it, you must find a way to help her remember that, even though home is where she wants to be, she still can enjoy the experience of being where she is.

  • Handle homesickness before it occurs by having your preteen pack something that reminds her of home, advises Kids Health. For example, if he is going to summer camp and will be away a few weeks, have him bring his favorite family photo, an album, or even his own pillow from his own bed. This provides him with some of the comforts of home when he is feeling particularly homesick. Sometimes being able to go through family photos or curl up with a pillow that smells like home is enough to make him feel better.

  • Tell your preteen you are proud of her for wanting to go away from home and that you just know she will be able to beat her occasional homesickness, advises PBS. Tell her that feeling homesick is normal from time to time, and that it’s okay to cry when she misses home and get her emotions out. Tell her it’s okay to talk to someone about her feelings, and it’s okay to call home and talk. It’s also a good idea to reassure her that she will be fine, even at times she doesn’t feel like it. When you tell her you’re proud of sticking it out before she even gets to that point, her pride might make it easier for her to get through her homesickness.

  • Encourage your preteen to get busy, advises Kids Health. When he is busy having fun and participating in activities he enjoys with his friends, or at camp or on your family vacation, he has less time to think about missing home. The more fun he has and the more he participates in activities, the faster time will pass and the faster it will feel like he gets home.

  • Give your child a journal before she goes to camp, or away with her friend’s family on a trip or your own family on vacation or a big move, advises Kids Health. Tell her that anytime she feels homesick she can write in her journal. Getting her feelings out and on paper is a good way to make herself feel better when she’s missing home.

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