Look, a small disclaimer before we start-I know I may be in the minority with this one-but I really struggle with my boy going off to school trips on his own without me-I always have, and I reckon I always will.
This became most apparent when I found out last term that my Son’s school were taking him to London for the day this month to see a show.
This is a regular occurrence for the school-they do this every single year-starting from reception (parents attend the reception year trip though), so the children are pretty accustomed to it by the time they get to year three (my Son’s year).
One of our issues however, is that my Son hasn’t even been at his school for a year yet-moving mid-term last June means the furthest he’s been with school is Dover, less than an hour away!
Because of my clear anxiety for this situation, I thought I’d make sure I understood everything that was going on before he went-and asked the questions I needed answered for my own peace of mind.
And, because of this, I’m able to bring you my guide to surviving your child’s school trips-while you’re sat at home waiting to collect them!
1. Does your child get travel sick? Kye used to-we seemed to fix him by loading him with every travel sickness product and herbal remedy we could find when we went on holiday to Dorset last year-four hours in the car there and 8 in the car home, and he didn’t feel sick once.
Just in case though, I spoke to his teacher about the things I knew would help him-sitting nearer the front so he could see the big window, not eating on the coach, and I checked he could have some chewing gum-I didn’t want to presume he could do/have these things then find out after the event that he couldn’t.
TOP TIPS; Speak to your child’s teacher about the things you want to send your child in with. Also, pop any medication they may need for sickness or other reasons, into a named envelope with dosage instructions on-teachers have a lot of children to take care of-help them help your child.
2. Picking them up can be an issue, especially if they’re stuck in traffic, and you’ve been waiting at the school for an hour panicking that something has happened! Our school send a text out to parents when they’re 45 minutes away from arriving back, so you don’t rock up before they’re close by.
TOP TIPS; Check with your school to see if they offer this service. Also, make sure your phone numbers are up to date-they’re no use to you or the teachers if they don’t have the right way to contact you!
3. Packed lunches are the bain of my life when the boy is off on a school trip-this one is probably even worse, as it’s the first one he’s needed dinner for too-that’s two packed lunches! Obviously the dinner will be sat around for literally hours-so it needs to be practical, and not too heavy-it’s really easy to overfeed them because you think they’ll need filling up after walking around all day-two lunch sized meals are better in a coach/tired child situation.
TOP TIPS; Freeze a couple of bottles of water for the dinner bag-even if they don’t both get drunk, they’ll keep the food cool until they get back to eat it. Also, check with a staff member or your child’s teacher to see if they’re going to leave their dinner bags on the coach-if they’re going to have to take them around with them, lighter food and less drink will make more sense.
4. Some parents are worriers (hands up over here). The school, although thoroughly prepared for every trip, understand that some parent’s worry! Don’t ever be afraid to speak to someone, anyone you trust or feel comfortable with, to discuss worries with. Most teachers** in most schools are there to put your mind at rest and answer any questions you may have.
TOP TIP; Don’t forget there are other parents in the same shoes as you-use the ones that are as nervous as you to make you feel less alone in your concerns, and use the ones that are more confident, or who have maybe been through these feelings with previous children, to help answer questions and put your mind at rest!
I hope you’ve found this helpful-I genuinely am still petrified, and will be until I have my boy back from his trip-but hopefully these tips will help those who are in this situation for the first time-and for those who are sat at home reading this, twiddling their thumbs while they wait for that school text and pick-up time-you’re not alone!
**Thanking the boy’s year three teacher for answering my questions before their London trip-I genuinely felt more comfortable knowing the school can accommodate certain requirements and understand parent’s concerns.