Your child's first residential trip away from home

Will’s first independent residential trip away from home

We’ve just experienced another significant ‘first’.  You know, the ones that leave you feeling a bit teary and emotional.  Or is that just me being a big softy again?  If your child’s first trip away by themselves stirs up thoughts of excitement and worry for both of you then take a look at our top tips below.

1.  Check the checklist

We had a pretty comprehensive list from the school and gave ourselves plenty of time to read through it so that I could go out and buy any essential items we were missing rather than having a last minute panic.

2.  Practice packing

Will loved doing this.  I knew that with 30 kids to manage the teachers and helpers wouldn’t be able to pack up 30 sleeping bags and rucksacks.  Being independent was a main part of the challenge after all.  So I got Will to practice stuffing his sleeping bag back into his sack beforehand and he was really proud when he got home and said he was one of the only ones who’d manage to do it all by himself.

school camp trip

Will’s heading off on his school trip

 

3.  Talk it through

In case you don’t know, I’m heading off for pasture’s new soon to be a teacher so have been spending a fair amount of time in school helping out recently.  I was chatting with the children about how they felt about their trip and was surprised how many of them felt worried about it.  We spent a bit of time talking it through.  I asked if any of them had been camping before and explained it might feel a bit like that but with your friends instead of your family around you.  Then we talked about if any of them had been on sleepovers and that it might feel a bit like a mix of a sleepover and a camping trip. That seemed to help a lot of them understand how they might feel.  For the others who might need a bit more reassurance tip 4 might be a useful one.

4.  A reminder from home

Some parents I spoke to disagree with letting their child have anything from home to remind them of home but Will really wanted to take his favourite ‘tigger’ to cuddle at night.  Infact he got me to give tigger an extra big cuddle the night before so that when he was cuddling tigger while he was away tigger could pass my cuddle back to him!    Another idea came from a friend who wrote a little note for her daughter to open up while she was away.  Turns out she forgot completely about it until she got back home!  I think both these strategies are just about having something familiar to reassure your child if they feel the need to reach out for it.

5.  DVDs to hand

Be prepared for a chilled out day the next day as you’re likely to have one tired child on your hands.  For some children the fatigue crept up like jet lag striking them down a day or so later.

Wish I’d taken a photo of Will as he staggered off the coach afterwards – never seen him look so dazed and confused!  He is still buzzing with stories of his trip now and am sure it will be a special memory for him to take with him through life.

You might find these links useful

Children’s sleeping bags

Children’s washbags

Children’s rucksacks

 

Do you have any tips to share?

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