We do understand that being away from home can be very difficult for some players.

Our coaches have a lot of experience of how to deal with homesick players, but some players do still get upset.

Homesickness is a form of anxiety usually caused by being away from the routines and familiar environment of home and family. Most people suffer from homesickness at some point in their lives – at school, at university, even on business trips. The feelings of sadness and distress can vary in severity and may manifest themselves in different ways.

You may be surprised to find that your child adjusts to the trip  without a problem – or surprised to find that he or she does not.

The child’s long-­term happiness and ability to cope away from home is best served by learning to overcome problems and not giving in too easily. We will do everything we can to help your child to settle in, providing friendly adult support and activities to help your child to mix and make new friends.

Things parents can do

Talk to your child about how you all might feel when he or she is away – but be positive! Explain what homesickness might feel like – some children think it actually means being physically sick. Ask your child to tell an adult in the school (e.g. their Team Leader) if they feel homesick and they will be able to help.

If your child is not accustomed to staying away from home, try to provide some opportunities to do so before the trip, preferably for more than one night.

Try to have an alternative to “goodbye” when it is time to leave your child. A reference to the next time of contact is better: “Have fun and we’ll see you on Monday.” Depart swiftly when you have decided to go and put on a brave face. Some children are always tearful when it comes to saying goodbye but are fine when you have

Your child being away from you might be more upsetting for you than your child. So do spend some time thinking about how you will cope!

Even a player that is very happy can cry just at the sound of their parents voice. It’s not uncommon for children to cry and then try and find excuses for being upset.

Remember not to believe everything, especially over text. In particular, children will often say things like:
“No one talks to me”, “I can’t eat anything”, “I lie awake all night”, “I hate it here”, “I don’t have any friends”, “Everyone else knows each other”.

A homesick child will sometimes say almost anything to convince you of the need to leave or the reason for them being upset.  Instead, contact his Team Leader to find out how your child really is and believe what we tell you, even if this appears to contradict your child.

End phone calls positively, preferably with something other than “goodbye”. If your child is upset encourage your child to go and find someone to talk to or involve themselves in an activity.  Encourage your child to speak to the staff about their feelings.

Things parents should try to avoid

Please do not tell children that they can come and stay with you in the hotel. This just encourages a negative attitude and is unsettling for everyone in the team, including other players.

Don’t think that staying near the team accommodation will help
them. It may have the opposite effect.

You may think that your child needs to hear your voice daily. Our experience is that children fare best when they know you are there if needed but do not receive constant reminders of your absence. Be clear before the trip about when and how often you will contact your child. We recommend no more than one call per day and one text in the morning.  Agreeing and keeping to these arrangements with your child will contribute to a feeling of control, avoid them constantly wondering when you will contact them and lessen the possibility of homesickness.

If a child is homesick we will:
• Tell you about it and talk to you, your child, other pupils and staff to ensure that it is ‘only’ homesickness and there is no other problem.
• Inform the staff looking after his team so that everyone is aware and will be sympathetic.
• Provide your child with friendly, professional support to help them cope with their homesickness

If your child is homesick, remind yourself (and your child) of all the good reasons for attending. Remember that whatever you or your child might be feeling, your child is fundamentally safe with caring, friendly people who only want your child to be happy and make a success of his or her trip.

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