HOW TO SET YOUR CHILD UP FOR SUCCESS
HELPING YOUR CHILD HAVE A FUN AND INDEPENDENT CAL-WOOD EXPERIENCE
Hooray, your child is coming to Cal-Wood! As you go to meetings about the trip and help your child gather and pack their things, you may also want to prepare them for the possibility of homesickness. Homesickness is a completely normal part of being away from home. And you play a major role in preventing that homesickness! Below, we have listed some things that you can do to prepare your child to be away from home for a few days and help them have a fun and independent experience!
1. Spend time away from home as practice, such as a long weekend at a friend’s or family member’s house.
By giving your child a chance to spend some time away from home, they can experiment with coping strategies. Being away from home for the first time at a place that is familiar and fun can help make the experience more enjoyable as well as they prepare to come to a place that is unfamiliar.
2. Don’t make a “Pick-Up Deal” with your child, provide them with strategies to cope and become independent.
Children often ask, “What if I feel homesick?” Rather than telling them that you will come and pick them up if they are feeling homesick, come up with strategies to help them cope with their feelings. For example, give them some paper to journal on so that they remember all of their stories from their time at Cal-Wood. Come up with a support system of chaperones, teachers, or friends that your child could talk to if they are feeling homesick. Have your child pack a book to read or a drawing pad to doodle on during free time. Giving kids a “Pick-Up Deal” sends a message of doubt and undermines their independence and confidence. Help your child persevere through these challenges rather than giving them a crutch.
3. Don’t tell your child that they can call you if they are feeling homesick.
We recommend that children do not call home unless they are having challenging behavior issues or if they are truly sick and need to be picked up. Although children and parents sometimes think that calling home will “cure” the homesickness, typically it just ends up making it worse. As children hear familiar voices, they can’t get those voices out of their heads and usually long to hear those voices more. By giving them strategies like the ones listed above, you are helping them become independent!
4. Check out our Student Preparedness video series on the previous page. Ask your teacher if you have any questions about the experience!
These videos have information regarding facilities and the schedule for your Cal-Wood experience. They will help prepare your child for their experience and will familiarize them with what our facilities and the schedule will look like. After watching these videos, ask your teachers any additional questions if you still have them.