CLEVELAND -- A summer tradition for many youngsters is sleep away camp. But it also can be tough for some when homesickness settles in.
We set out to find ways to make going to camp easier for both parents and kids.
If your child has never been away from home, it's important to practice. Overnight sleepovers are a great way to prepare.
"I know you had a good time during the sleep over," Dr. Richard So of the Cleveland Clinic explains. "You're still alive. You made it here. I'm here. Your dog's here. Everything is the same when you left."
If your child is still nervous, So says to stay positive and supportive.
"If you do get homesick at camp, I want you to treat your camp leader like your parent," So continues. "You're going to talk with that person."
Communication is also important. Talking with your child beforehand and during camp can help ease homesickness.
It may sound old fashioned, but So says letters and photos are such a great way to keep in touch. Include some pre-stamped addressed envelopes for them. Tuck a photo inside your child's bag and slip in a letter for them to open right away.
"You write everything in the letter like, 'Johnny, I know you're going to have a great time at camp. I remember the days when I learned the songs. I remember the days around the campfire. I remember when I made so many new friends.' You have to be positive."
So says to avoid writing things like, "I miss you so much. Our dog spot misses you. He's just roaming around the house. The garden is full of weeds. We used to pull them out together."