How to prepare for your child staying away from home for the first time
The first time your child stays away from home for a night or more is a big milestone for both parent and child. It might be a residential trip with a school, youth group or club or perhaps your child is going away to a summer camp. Wherever your child is going, it is normal for you and your child to feel apprehensive about the trip, but there are a few things you can do before and during their time away from home to make sure it is a positive experience.
Do your research…
If you are choosing somewhere for your child to stay, such as a summer camp it is important that you feel completely confident in the provider you have chosen. Look for companies with many years of experience, Kingswood Camps have been running school holiday camps for over 30 years and also welcome schools and groups to their activity centres during term time. Read about the staff who will be taking care of your child and check they have all the necessary risk assessments. If your child is going away on a school trip, the school will have all the information and some destinations have specific information for parents available on their website.
It is a good idea to involve your child in the research process, look at the destination’s website, research the activities they will be taking part in and show them plenty of photos and videos, this will help you both to familiarise yourself with the place they will be staying and get excited about the trip.
Talk to others…
If you have particular questions or concerns regarding your child, such as dietary or medical needs it is always best to discuss this with someone at the place where your child will be staying or ask the school to do this on your behalf.
Social media and online forums are a great way to reach out to other parents who have children who have stayed in the same place to find out what they thought of it. If you look at the Facebook and Twitter pages of the place your child is visiting you may be able to find parents of other children who will be there are the same time and your children can start communicating before the trip so that they have a friend when they arrive.
Settling in time…
After you have helped your child pack their bag and waved them off on their trip, it is best to allow them some settling in time. The rules on mobile phones will vary depending on where they are going but try to avoid calling them as soon as they arrive while they adjust to their new environment. If there is an emergency you will be able to contact the camp directly or the adult organising the trip. Be available to receive calls if your child needs to get in touch with you or if they are homesick but it is more likely that they will call to let you know what a good time they are having or they may even be having too much fun to call at all!