homesick ds is hundreds of miles away and crying on phone...

(25 Posts)
harrietspy Mon 17-Feb-14 21:25:48

DS is 11 and on school trip for half term. He's called me in tears because he's homesick. He got really upset when he went to PGL a couple of years ago but I thought this would be different because he'd have friends around him.

I feel v helpless and don't know if I'm saying the right things to help him... sad

Any suggestions?

BrianTheMole Mon 17-Feb-14 21:28:18

Oh bless him. Can you contact the teachers to see if they can help him out? I did this at the same age, my mum came and got me. It probably wasn't the right thing to do though. I think I would have settled down after a few days.

123rd Mon 17-Feb-14 21:37:38

Oh. Poor him. And you. My DD is due to go on a five day residential soon with school and they are not allowed any phone contact at all. ( no electrical gadgets or entertainment to be accurate) I think sometimes makes it worse speaking to home. I'm sure he will feel better in the morning tho. Will you contact the teachers?

harrietspy Mon 17-Feb-14 21:39:08

They gave us a mobile number very strictly 'for emergencies only' but I think I'll text them in the morning anyway... He's going to bed now with his Harry Potter audiobook on ipod and I told him to talk to a teacher in the morning.

To make it worse, the roaming thing isn't working on his phone so he's having to scavenge other people's phones to call me.

I won't be going to get him, though, even though I'm tempted... He's in Austria. It's an optional and not-cheap trip so I'd told him he'd have to pay for part of it if he was keen to go, so he's put birthday money into it and everything... I so hope he has a good time.

Flowerpup Mon 17-Feb-14 21:40:01

Have you got an iPad / iPhone to FaceTime him on if someone there has one? Might cheer him up and just seeing a friendly face can make a huge difference. Just a thought, hope hes alright

harrietspy Mon 17-Feb-14 21:41:24

123rd I think you're absolutely right about the phone contact. When he went on a residential from school in y6 he was absolutely fine and they weren't allowed to make calls home. Or maybe he wasn't fine and I didn't know about it! grin

Flowerpup Mon 17-Feb-14 21:41:34

Crossed post there as I was typing! I hope in the end he enjoys it, so hard isn't it

Paloma12 Mon 17-Feb-14 21:42:57

Poor thing. A week is ages at that age, so I am sure that as it gets closer to home time, he'll start enjoying it a lot more! I remember being homesick on week-long trips, and generally feeling loads better by about the Wednesday. I would just tell him to stick with it and see how he goes, because sometimes I used to find the pressure to be enjoying myself made the homesickness even worse, if you know what I mean! Maybe normalise his feelings a bit by saying everyone feels a bit strange on holiday at the start, even adults.

harrietspy Mon 17-Feb-14 21:47:23

I don't know about the iphone, Flowerpup. I think it might make us both blub! Thanks for the suggestion, though.

He's such a gung-ho, try-anything, brave kid and has always been very open emotionally. I just hope his mates are being nice to him as they listen to his gulping sobs... Thank god he took his ipod. He falls asleep to Harry Potter every night so at least that should be a comfort.

Paloma, you're dead right and that's really helpful. I'm remembering how I've felt homesick in all sorts of amazing places as recently as last year... I'll tell him that tomorrow.

TartanBed Mon 17-Feb-14 21:57:07

I second the FaceTime if you can. My son went away and was sobbing on the phone to me then he used his friends iPhone to FT me and he said he felt much better and like I was there with him. And it's free.

harrietspy Mon 17-Feb-14 22:02:25

I'll find out if anyone's got an iphone out there. I have an ipad and I've never done FT blush but I'm sure I can manage it.

Thank you so much for the lovely suggestions. I'm sorry you had a sobbing son too, Tartan.

In normal circs I'd have a whisky now but I've got an upset stomach so I'm thinking of retiring to bed with some comfort telly.

I think it's the evenings that are the worst bit. they are busy, busy in the day, then it all stops and they start thinking about home.

I went to France at about that age and felt terribly homesick in the evenings but remember all the good bits now.

Also I bet he's not the only one feeling the same.

crypes Mon 17-Feb-14 22:11:04

Try and get him home as soon as possible .

shey02 Mon 17-Feb-14 22:14:41

Ah bless him and you. I must agree with some though about contact sometimes making it worse. Our schools have always done strict no contact and I usually find out when they're home that my child and/or others have been homesick, but they let the teachers and ultimately the childrens friends deal with it. It's part of growing up I think, there's no right and wrong. He will start to enjoy himself soon I bet, usually with mine, it's day 3 that the homesickness kicks in, then goes again as the time flies by. Hoping you both feel better tomorrow. smile

Paloma12 Mon 17-Feb-14 22:17:25

I don't agree with crypes, I think it's better to help him to manage his feelings.

I think part of the problem with holidays in general, is that you feel the massive pressure to enjoy 100 percent of them. But life isn't like that. That's why I think reassuring him that homesickness is a normal feeling, will stand him in better stead for future experiences.

TeamHank Mon 17-Feb-14 22:21:23

I don't agree with crypes either - if every time your child is homesick you rush and get them home they'll never learn to be away from you!

As a teacher who's done residentials this is why we don't allow phones - it was always much easier for us to cheer the children up and keep their minds off home if they couldn't phone.

Hope he'll get some sleep and feel better in the morning. If you can contact the teachers and give them the heads up then they can help to distract him tomorrow.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 17-Feb-14 22:25:34

I bet he's tired from travelling.

He'll sleep tonight and feel better in the morning. They'll be busy tomorrow and he'll have fun. Agree that evenings are the worst but more so if knackered from travelling.

He'll be back soon with loads of laundry telling you what he got up to and how much he enjoyed it.

Coconutty Mon 17-Feb-14 22:26:45

Phoning home is the worse thing to do. We don't let the kids call when we are on a residential. Even those who don't get homesick used to feel wobbly after calling home. We don't let them bring mobiles anymore.

But I guarantee you that he would have put the phone down and would have found something to do and will be fine.

Try not to worry.

Coconutty Mon 17-Feb-14 22:27:41

Ignore Crypes.

aardvarktwo Mon 17-Feb-14 22:31:13

I used to get horribly horribly homesick (including once in austria!). It was never non stop though and what helped me was mentally counting days hours minutes till I got home.

Poor thing, it is so awful.

Interestingly I was never picked up (parents would not have known really pre mobiles) and I can't decide now if I am glad about that or not.

Also a legacy of this is a huge anxiety I have about my children going awsy. I can't bear the thought of them feeling that sad. (They seem ok though)

harrietspy Mon 17-Feb-14 23:00:52

Tbh there's no way I'd go to get him even if he was just down the road, and I'm certainly not flying to Austria. grin.

Funny thing is he talks about how brilliant the PGL holiday was when he was 9 and never mentions how he phoned home in tears every night! I suspect it'll be the same with this trip.

I think it would be better without phones, but they'd have to enforce it across the board. I went on a school residential to Butlins when I was 8 and was incredibly miserable. Calling home (from a call box!) definitely made me feel worse.

Thanks again for being so kind!

TeamHank Mon 17-Feb-14 23:03:37

It is hard to enforce harriet, and we did have to confiscate a few!

I know it's not the same thing but dh goes away a lot for work and he's stopped phoning when the boys are up now cos it makes them miss him so much more. Sometimes out of sight out of mind is better all round!

I'm sure he'll be having a fab time during the day - and will be crashed out now! smile

harrietspy Tue 18-Feb-14 19:23:30

Update: lovely teacher called to say she'd had a quiet word to see how he was and he'd had a brilliant day today. smile She also said they were all incredibly exhausted yesterday after a very long trip, so that probably contributed to the heaving sobs.

Thanks again for all the encouraging words. thanks

Oh that's brilliant harriet. You must feel a lot better. wine

TeamHank Wed 19-Feb-14 09:16:47

Fantastic news, hooray for lovely teachers smile.

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