Although many people enjoy being away from home for a while, for example for a vacation, there is also a group of people who hate being away from home for a long period. These people suffer from homesickness. Homesickness is the distress or impairment caused by an actual or anticipated separation from their specific home environment.
Many people consider homesickness merely as a childhood disease, but nothing is further from the truth. Homesickness affects people of all ages. Many first year students also experience homesickness. Since adults are better able to express themselves, it is easier to recognize homesickness in adults than in children.
Yet it is true that homesickness is more common among children because they have less experience in being away from home and this is clearly something they need to get used to. An adult who knows he or she is very homesick, will not easily go on vacation.
So, is there a way to prepare for homesickness? It is very hard to avoid homesickness, but you can take steps to limit homesickness.
You can help a child or adult with homesickness, by preparing them for the vacation. Provide Extensive information about the destination, conditions, pictures and videos certainly can have a positive effect. It's also good to actively involve him or her in planning the vacation.
It also helps a child or adult to take familiar things to the vacation destination. Good examples are toys, dolls, a journal or even a pillow or blanket. Such articles may just ensure that a person feels at home at another location.
In addition, children and adults can prepare for being away a longer time from home by being away from home for a short time, such as sleepovers for kids and short city breaks for adults. Returning to previous vacation destinations also brings familiarity that can prevent or reduce homesickness.
Homesickness during vacation
If homesickness still shows up during the vacation, distraction is very important! The persons who feels homesick should not sit in a corner all by themselves and be depressed or grumpy, but should be active and be doing things. This diverts their attention away from the homesickness. It's good to talk about the homesickness and as parents you should show understanding for the homesickness of your child.
Do not go straight home! Homesickness is usually the most intense during the first few days, so give the child or adult time to overcome homesickness and let the person discover that you can have a great time, even though you are away from home.
It also helps to bring structure and regularity in the vacations, for example through regular rituals. Good examples for this are set times for breakfast, lunch, dinner or sleep time. Usually the homesickness becomes less intense after a few days.
If homesickness becomes really unbearable, then it's better to go home. But discuss the possibility to go home only with the adult or child, when the situation becomes unbearable.