Is "Kid-sickness" the new "Homesickness"?

About ACA

Media Tip from the American Camp Association
May 21 , 2008

Is "Kid-sickness" the new "Homesickness"?

As good parents, all of us go to great lengths to play a big role in the lives of our children and, as a result, their lives become our lives. So what happens when all at once, that life goes to summer camp, leaving us all alone in a quiet house?  That's going to happen to millions of families over the next months as over 10 million U.S. children head to camp.  The American Camp Association suggests that parents "push through the pain" to ensure that kids reap the unique benefits of the camp experience. 

Here are five tips to help "kid-sick" parents cope:

  1. Focus on the positive. "Focus on what is so positive about the experience children will have at camp – the opportunity to have fun while developing social skills, building character and self respect, spending time in nature, and participating in a community based on caring, fairness, citizenship, and trust."
    - Peg L. Smith, ACA CEO
     
  2. Remember that separation is natural and necessary. "Remember your baby's first crawl, the first time your child stepped onto a school bus, and his or her first overnight with a friend or relative. These memories are all important developmental phases you and your child successfully navigated. Each successful separation gives your child confidence for the next challenge. Recognize and expect success."
    - Peg L. Smith, ACA CEO
     
  3. You've taught them well. "Trust that the connection you have with your child doesn't break or evaporate when you are physically apart. Everything you have taught them is there. Having anxiety or sadness about seeing them off is entirely reasonable and understandable. How can you love your kids and not have some feelings like these? Yet, one of the most valuable lessons we as adults can model for our children is that even in the face of our feelings, no matter how strong, we do what is best."
    - Bob Ditter, family therapist
     
  4. This is vital preparation. "As our children prepare to eventually leave home permanently, the camp experience will instill independence through summers of fun while helping them acquire skills and assets that will serve them throughout their lives."
    -   Peg L. Smith, ACA CEO
     
  5. Share what you are feeling. "Talk with a friend or spouse. What are you feeling? What was the reason for sending your child to camp in the first place? Having an outside perspective can help us look more evenly at our own."
    - Bob Ditter, family therapist

Contact Public Relations at 765.349.3317 or pr@ACAcamps.org to interview an ACA spokesperson for more information on the ways the camp experience enhances the lives of children, teens, and adults.

Also, for customizable public service announcements or article reprints, visit our Media Center.

About ACA
The American Camp Association® (ACA) works to preserve, promote, and enhance the camp experience for children and adults. ACA-Accredited® camp programs ensure that children are provided with a diversity of educational and developmentally challenging learning opportunities. There are over 2,400 ACA-accredited camps that meet up to 300 health and safety standards. For more information, visit www.ACAcamps.org.