The fears and the doubts
Seeing off your child, who you have nurtured and protected since they were born, on their first residential trip without you is a milestone not only for them but for you too. Their first residential trip away is filled with all sorts of feelings, conflicting emotions and quite possibly some fears and doubts for the parents. Can they manage on their own? Will they be homesick? Will they remember to brush their teeth? Having spent years thinking for your child, reminding them of the daily tasks of keeping body and soul together, letting them manage and make these decisions for themselves can be difficult for both of you as it has become so much of a part of who we are as their parent.
The rollercoaster ride of parenting
As mum to three children, I can safely say that the first times they were away from home, without me knowing exactly where they were, who they were with or what they were doing was quite a wrench. It is not something as a parent you can easily prepare for and it can be different for each family, with each child and for each parent. Being nervous about your child spending time away from you is quite normal and part of the rollercoaster ride of parenting. If you are preparing to send your child on their first residential trip, probably an organised one with school, then you will be facing lots of feelings, emotions and possibly some practical challenges.
Addressing your concerns
Let’s assume your child’s school organizes the trip and break down some common concerns parents have.
They will be travelling with their peers - so they will have the support of their friendship group. They will be travelling with their teachers, teaching assistants and responsible adults - the group leader will have organized and taken trips before and nowadays there are strict guidelines and procedures for the adults responsible for the children in their care, which are checked and reviewed. They will generally be travelling on a trip provided by a specialist trip company - activity trip companies are experienced, regulated and comply with appropriate standards of safety, quality and care.
Your child’s group leader and the provider of the trip will be able to give you all the practical information you should need in advance of the trip. The sorts of things you should know about are where they will be staying, what will they be doing, how will the trip be organized and run and what are the lines of communication (both ways!). You will also need to think about what information you might need to provide about your child in order that they have as trouble-free a trip as possible. Proper preparation is paramount.
If you feel confident about the planned trip your child will be much more likely to make a success of it.
A successful residential trip, whilst only lasting a few days or maybe a week, can have a lasting impact on your child. The benefits to you child of the opportunities to try new activities and experiences at the same time as looking after themselves will be visible in the form of increased self confidence, growth of independence and development of important life skills and far outweigh any fears or concerns you may have.
The freedom to thrive
So just sit tight and feel confident that the teachers have carefully selected a reputable company who are experienced at providing high quality residential experiences. Then look forward to your child returning exhilarated and delightfully animated about the experiences they have just enjoyed, a tad tired and slightly more grown up than when they left. That is however the pain and joy of being a parent – having to let them go to discover the big wide world on their own and watching them on the sidelines hopefully having fun while they do it!
For further information about the residential trips that Rockley offer, please click below: