Tomorrow my eldest son is going to be off on his first residential trip with primary school, he is seven years old and it’s the first time he will be away from home without family.
I honestly thought I would be fine with it, that it would be a walk in the park as I am generally so busy with life, the business and my other two children that I didn’t think I would give it a second thought.
For the past two weeks I have glanced past the other parents comments about the trip on Facebook, steered away from their fraught conversations in the playground as the other parents ensure they have all the other equipment and generally tried not to think about it too much and thinking it would all be fine.
Well I was wrong on that front for sure and as I walked back from school with one of my son’s friends mum, this morning and we mentally ticked off our kit list, I had a lump in my throat and the reality that he was really going finally hit me.
It’s not that he has shown any sign of not wanting to go at all, it’s more that I am starting to worry that in the dead of night we might miss each other. By day he a well-rounded, confident chap who is involved in lots of great activities like Beavers, Cricket, Football and he has a wide circle of friends at school, church and through our friends too, but sometimes, particularly when he’s tired he gets very sensitive and wants his mum and dad.
Fortunately I have chatted it through with friends who are teachers of KS1 children and have spoken to other Mums who’s children have been. They have all assured me that it’s all a worry over nothing and that they have the most amazing time, but I did get from them a few top tips. So just like those cheesy washing fabric softener adverts i’m sitting here thinking of ways he can be indirectly comforted when he’s away for his EPIC one night of adventure!
Here are my tips based on speaking with other parents and teachers who’s children have already been and next year i’ll be adding my own tips:
- Washing the sleeping bag in fabric softener so that it smells of home.
- Take his favorite teddy
- Put a note on his wash bag telling him we love him
- Send him with some snacks that will remind him of home
- Allow him to ( within reason) take his oldest most favorite clothes that will be familiar
- Pray with him before he goes
- Make sure that you check through the checklist together and show them where everything is. If you have one of those children like mine who can’t even manage to find his own nose at times, at least you won’t get blamed when they can’t find anything
- Label everything, even pants and socks to avoid confusion
- Talk through the whole experience and ask them what they are looking forward to most
- Ask them to bring back something that will remind them of the trip as a gift for the family: eg an interesting stone, stick or leaf
- Remind them how lucky they are and what an exciting opportunity they are having.
I’ve come to the conclusion that so long as I have done everything to make him feel secure, I will feel ok too! ( I’ll let you know on that one)
I hope you find at least some of this useful and please feel free to share any tips to add to this if you have any we’d love to hear them.
Post trip report
After I’d picked him up from school, thrown him in the bath and asked for the post adventure de-brief, he cried his little eyes out – not because he missed us, but because he wanted to go back and carry on the adventure! ONE HAPPY BOY and one happy Mummy! I think next year will be so much easier!