(The following excerpt is taken from How to Say It to Your Kids, by Dr. Paul Coleman.)
Tommy placed his backpack on the floor of his cousin's bedroom, the place that he'd call home for the next two weeks. "It looks as if we got everything from the car," his dad said after their long drive. "We'll be going now, Tommy. Have lots of fun!" Tommy's mother hugged him hard. "We'll miss you," she said. "But we want you to enjoy yourself. You always enjoy playing with your cousins." Tommy's parents waved good-bye to their son and left. When they arrived home two hours later, the phone was ringing. "Mom!" Tommy said when she answered it. "I changed my mind. I don't want to stay. I want to come home." Homesickness is not unusual, but parents can make the problem worse if they mishandle it.
Things to Consider
While many children experience homesickness, most feel much better within a day or two. If you can handle their temporary discomfort, they will probably be able to handle it, too. Homesickness may be more pronounced if the family went through a recent loss or stressful period such as a death of a relative or marital separation. Homesickness, while uncomfortable, can make a child feel competent when he learns he can overcome it.
How to Say It
There are three phases: preparation, the actual leaving of the child, and post-separation. What you say at each phase can mean the differencbetween homesickness or away-from-home wellness.
How Not to Say It