Homesickness affects children and adults. Being away from a familiar environment, whether it's for one day, several weeks or months at a time, brings on separation anxiety. A person gets sad, scared and upset, and sometimes experiences headaches and stomachaches. Kids going off to summer camp or boarding school feel homesick, as do adults going into the military or those relocating for work. To cure homesickness, incorporate coping strategies to gradually make time away from home more bearable.
Practice Being Away From Home
Ease children into being away from home. Have the child stay at a friend's or relative's house for the afternoon and gradually lengthen the time away from home. Have him stay there overnight and eventually for a weekend. Allow the child to bring his favourite toy and photos of Mom and Dad. Instead of calling home, have him write a letter or postcard. Practicing being away from his familiar environment teaches him how to cope with homesickness.
By keeping busy when away from home, there is less time to think about the people and the objects that are missed. If at summer camp, participate in daily activities. If away from home for work, focus on the tasks at hand. Distract the mind. If not able to stay busy, the mind starts wandering and brings up thoughts of home. When a person is kept busy, time appears to go by faster.
Call Home at Set Times
When away from the normal environment, set a time every day to call home. Hearing a familiar voice eases the mind and makes a person feel better. Limit excessive talking on the phone, however, as it triggers homesick feelings. Bring stationary and stamps, and write letters home during times when homesickness kicks in. If there is access to a computer or cellphone, send a quick e-mail or text message to help cope.
Talk About Feelings
Seek support from others while in the new environment. Talk to new friends or to a counsellor about feelings. They are likely to relate and offer supportive words. Stay positive and think of all the new fun activities to which to look forward. Become familiar with the surroundings and the people in it to feel more at home and reduce anxiety.
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