*this is a collaborative post 🙂
The time comes in every parent’s life when they must say goodbye to their child for a couple of days as they go on their first overnight school trip.
This could well be the first time you and your child have spent even a single night apart since they arrived home all those years ago. Your mind could be going into overdrive as you go over everything they may or may not need and how they will cope with being away from home. Below are a few tips to help put your child’s (and your own) mind at ease about the whole thing.
First and most important point: Play it cool. If you are getting all anxious about their first trip away, then your child will pick up on that nervous energy. Remember that this can be a daunting experience, but can also be an opportunity for growth and independence. You may even be feeling a bit guilty for sending your child away from you, but rest assured they won’t feel abandoned. They will most likely see it as a whole new kind of adventure and so should you. The school will have prepared for every eventuality and will be able to contact you in the unlikely event of an emergency, so don’t go thinking you need to stay in constant contact with your child throughout the trip. Their friends and teachers will be able to provide any emotional support in your absence, and they’ll be home before you know it.
Talk To Your Child
You may be worried, but they might be super excited like it’s Christmas and their birthday all rolled into one, or it could be the other way round. Talk to your child and ask them how they’re feeling about the whole thing. Are they worried about the change in routine? Are there any aspects that seem to be causing anxiety? Being able to voice their issues and have them acknowledged will go a long way towards making them feel better about the whole situation. If they have spending money, it might be worth talking to them about setting a budget, so it doesn’t disappear in the first two days. Go through the itinerary and required items list with them so that they’re as clued in as you. The more information you give them, the better, but try not to overwhelm them.
Preparation is Key
Having spoken to your child about any potential worries now is the time to put them at ease. Many children will be self-conscious about using the shower facilities in a strange environment, especially if they have a shared locker room with their peers. Simply providing some swimming shorts or a bathing costume to use when showering can go a long way towards making them feel more comfortable in an alien situation. Children of a certain age can also be prone to nervous accidents during the day for any number of reasons. Incontinence pants from dry and cool can eliminate this worry without making it obvious to others that they are having any problems. Or maybe they are simply worried about being away from home for that length of time and not having contact. Giving them the option to contact home during the trip if they are feeling homesick can provide comfort and remind them that although they may not be at home, you’re still available to support them if they need it.
Give Them a Memento
After all this, your child may still be feeling nervous about being away from home; not to worry though because there is a simple and effective way to relieve that tension. By providing a tangible connection to home you can add an element of stability for your child that can keep them feeling safe and secure. Maybe they have a favourite teddy they like to sleep with they would like to bring along. They probably won’t be the only child to want to do this, but if they do feel self-conscious, there are a variety of inconspicuous items that could make them feel more at home. Maybe they bring their pillowcase, so it feels more like their bed. Maybe it could be an item of clothing that smells like home or like mum or dad. You could even consider some sort of lucky charm keyring which you can give to them to keep them safe on their travels. So long as you provide a physical and emotional link between them and home, it should have the desired effect.
Hopefully, these tips will help put your child at ease about their first trip away from home, which should, in turn, help you to sleep a little more peacefully. Here’s to the first step into a greater world.