Preparing for a residential trip

We organise residential trips for children in Year 5, and some of our Year 5 and 6 pupils participate in local schools’ ski trips. While children love these trips and get a great deal out of the experiences, we know they might feel daunted beforehand, so we’ve written some tips, both for children and for parents.

Parents

Tips for preparing your child for a residential trip:

  • Talk with children about the upcoming separation positively.
  • Tell children that it’s normal to feel homesick.
  • Talk with children about coping with homesickness and share and talk about the children’s check-list.
  • Involve children in the decision to spend time away from home.
  • Send children on a “practice” trip, such as few days at a friend’s or relative’s house, even one night would be good!
  • Encourage children to practice writing letters or diary entries to home before leaving (even if it is one go at this!)
  • If possible, it may help to meet at least one person (adult or child) from the new setting before leaving.
  • Encourage children to make friends and seek support from trusted adults when they’re gone.
  • Be enthusiastic and optimistic about your child’s away-from-home experience.
  • Avoid negative language. Don’t say things like, “I hope you’ll be OK.” Use positive language like, “you’ll have an amazing time, everything will be fine.”
  • If children have any additional needs medical or otherwise, confirm in advance that those needs will be met with staff, and affirm this with your child.

Children

Tips for what to do when I’m away from home:

  • Do something fun, like playing with friends. Talk to my friends.
  • Do something to feel closer to home, like writing a letter home or write in my holiday book/diary
  • Go and see someone (a grown up that I’m comfortable with) who can talk to me to help me feel better.
  • Look at the bright side, such as activities and friends in the new setting. Look out of the window – look at the amazing views.
  • Think that the time away is short. “it’s just a few days”
  • Don’t dwell on home.
  • Think about what a loved one would say to make you feel better. “how’s your day? What have you been doing?”