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Coping with camp loneliness

For most children, summer camp means new friends and experiences away from home. For others, however, homesickness can spoil their fun in the sun.

A little help from parents, counselors, and perhaps even from veteran camp bunkmates, can help youngsters overcome this obstacle and enjoy their camp experience.

Homesickness is most common in first-timeers, especially those who are attending sleep-away camps.

Children often have trouble adjusting to summer camp because it raises anxieties about separation from their parents.

An item brought from home, such as a favorite toy or teddy bear, can be especially comforting for younger children. These items, known in medical circles as transitional objects, serve as physical reminders of the comfort and presence of their homes and parents. But remember: Toys can easily be lost or broken; so don't send a favorite.

Letters and care packages from parents can be helpful. But it may be better to send nonedible treats such as baseball cards, magazines and stickers.

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