The Outdoor School experience is often the student’s first opportunity to spend the night away from home. Homesickness is common; however there are ways to assist your child in dealing with these feelings. 

       Prior to Outdoor School
  • Include your child in the decision to attend Outdoor School and help them prepare for this experience.
  • Attend the ODS orientation. Encourage your child to ask questions about the program.
  • Discuss expectations for ODS. Encourage your child to talk to others who have been to ODS.
  • Focus on the positive including the fun your child will have and the opportunity to make new friends.
  • Alert ODS staff prior to your child’s arrival about any concerns you have regarding homesickness , recent family issues such as illness or death in the family or other fears your child may have which may increase the incident of homesickness.
  • Discuss calling home or letter writing which may help decrease homesickness.
  • Prepare your child for ODS by having them spend the night at a friend’s or relative’s home if they have never been away.
  • When packing for ODS, have your child bring along a special stuffed animal, book or other item to remind them of home.
  • Encourage your child to bring a journal or art supplies such as colored pencils and a sketch pad to help them to express their feelings.
  • Make his/her departure day cheerful. Remain positive while encouraging your child that he/she will be successful at ODS.  
What does the ODS staff do to help with homesickness? 
  • Listen and discuss feelings with the child
  • Evaluate for any physical illness
  • Pair up the child with a buddy for activities to provide extra support
  • Encourage child to succeed and achieve the goal of spending the night away from home.
  • Contact parent or guardian if symptoms persist.
  • Discuss issue with parent so that they can make an informed decision regarding whether a student will spend the night or become a day student.
  • Support the child in the decision made and praise them for their efforts.

       Symptoms of Homesickness 

  • Sadness, anxiety or crying
  • Unwillingness to participate in activities
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Physical symptoms which may include: stomachache, sore throat, headache, nausea, minor aches and pains and flu-like symptoms
  • Attention seeking behavior such as deliberately trying to break rules or get into trouble.
  • Homesickness usually occurs at times when there is lesser activity and may increase at night