One of the biggest childhood rites of passage is going on school trips and being away from home for the first time. School trips are a great way to encourage independence and for children to explore the world a little bit more. School trips to European cities are very much the norm. I was lucky enough to go on school trips to America and Holland. They both broadened my horizons, gave me a sense of independence and taught me some new things about life and friendships.
Most away from home school trips start when your children reach double digits. Often these are whole class trips away to cities such as Paris or Barcelona, other times they can be skiing holidays or trips to take part in school football tournaments.
Some children might also get the chance to go away for a night or two with Beavers, Brownies, Cubs or Scouts. Short Scout camps and the like are excellent for preparing younger children for slightly longer periods away from home with school.
It’s never easy to wave goodbye to your children, even if it’s just for a night or two. I’ve put together a list of things to can do to lessen your heartbreak and their separation anxiety.
Tips for heartbreak free school trips
Let go – trust that the group leader will take care of them and all will be well. They will have your emergency contact details if you are needed. Remember the group leaders will be well qualified and able to manage whatever situations crop up.
Be available – if your child is old enough for them to have their own phone, top up their credit and tell them to call you anytime they want, day or night. A quick chat with their family when they need one will be enough to keep them from getting too homesick.
Tears are normal – try not to cry too much in front of their friends, it’s so not cool. But if there are tears from you or from your child, then that’s normal too. It’s normal to feel anxious or worried, or to miss them terribly.
Leave little notes – whenever I am away from my boys I always leave them notes. They will find them hidden in their shoes, tucked under pillows, written in toothpaste on the mirror. Write little notes of joy and pack them in their bag. Hide them in shoes, tuck them in their toiletries bag. Secretly change the lock screen on their phone to one which will make them smile. It’s the little things not the grand gestures they will appreciate.
Enjoy the peace – enjoy a night or two in a quiet house. Go out as a couple if you can, stay up late and get up at noon. Or if you’re like us, take the opportunity to really tidy and declutter their room without them moaning about it all.
They’re going to leave home sooner or later, giving them little bursts of adventure and independence can help build their confidence and life experience. Saying goodbye, even for a for nights is hard, but it can be very worthwhile for everyone.
This is a collaborative post.