Effective Strategies to Manage Homesickness among Students

Many times students have to stay away from their homes at distant places in order to pursue their education. As a result, they long for their parents’ affection and a homely environment. The same is also experienced by young children. Many children experience stress, anxiety, nervousness, and discomfort when they are away from home, even for a short period of time. Also, young children residing in boarding schools or pursuing education in public schools experience homesickness and the discomfort of separation from their family. Teachers and parents can help students to face the challenges of home sickness by learning the signs of this issue and the techniques to deal with it.

Identifying the Problem

Homesickness is mostly prevalent when children are away from their parents and homes for a day or even more than that. Children can feel homesick even when they go to their friend’s place for a single night’s sleep over. It is often seen that children feel more homesick when they return to school after vacations, breaks, and missed days due to illness. They also feel homesick when they leave home for a long time, for example, joining school at the beginning of the year or when they are leaving home for a longer period of time than they are used to.

The concerned authorities and the teachers of an institution should observe the students to detect signs of homesickness. They should counsel and help students in tackling the problem. Research states that homesickness can manifest in children in many different forms including nausea, headache, or children may also respond through change in behavior like fear, tantrums, and so on.

Students who are homesick or anxious about separation from their parents often express unnecessary concern and fear about their parents. Sometimes they find it difficult to sleep and some children are very shy to interact with others. These signs can assist teachers to recognize which students can tend to feel homesick and need help.

Role of Teachers

Teachers can help homesick children in many different ways. If a student cries, feels sick, scared, or distant, teachers and counselors can take necessary actions to help them.  Teachers can notify parents about their ward’s homesickness so that they can work together and find a solution. Teachers can also act on their own and try to distract a student by conducting innovative and interesting activities, lessons, and games.

Students should be brought into the comfort zone by providing toys and similar items so that they learn things in an interesting and playful manner. It may so happen that some students may quickly respond in a positive way while others may take time to adapt to the developments. Also, these days many mobile applications have also come up which can help students to become more comfortable in the class room.

Working as a Team

Teachers and parents can work together to solve the problem of students’ homesickness. They can interact and have discussions with the children in the classroom, the school premises, and at home.

At home, parents can teach and paint a clear picture of an ideal school to their children. They can prepare their wards mentally for school giving them an idea of the activities that are usually carried out in school. This will make children familiar to school; also when they leave their children at school, they should remain calm, happy, and confident. This will build their ward’s confidence and reduce their anxiety. Parents can comfort their children by preparing them a healthy and tasty breakfast along with a nutritious packed lunch for school.

To further comfort the young students, parents and teachers can work together and arrange a meeting in the school before the child’s first day. This will allow the student to see the classroom, meet the teacher, and be familiar with the institute’s ambience. Once acquainted with the school, students will be able to overcome homesickness.

Parents and teachers can discuss with the students about potential anxiety. Eventually, they can come up with a fool-proof plan in case the students get homesick. Healthy, limited, and appropriate contact between parents and children during school hours can also turn out to be healthy.

Facing the Challenges

Many experts state that homesickness can be dealt with by changing the perception of what the feeling is. Psychologists state that people don’t stop missing whom they love. Hence, if students are trained to consider homesickness as a feeling of affection versus pain, their negative feelings about school can be turned into positive ones.

Also, renowned healthcare institutes suggest parents to consult mental health professionals if the fear of school or homesickness persists among their children. Sometimes it may so happen that even parents start missing their children if they start leaving for long periods of time. In such cases, parents should also take the same steps that children follow to feel better in school. Parents can engage in errands and recreational activities to reduce symptoms of missing a child.

Parents should motivate children to go to school regularly and should constantly interact with them. This will build the children’s confidence and will help them perform well at school and improve in their studies. Comforting and encouraging children will help them overcome homesickness and perform actively in school activities.

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