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How To Keep Cool When Your Child Is Away On First Over-Night School Trip!

If you follow me on social media you would know a couple of days back, I had mentioned about my daughter’s first overnight school trip. The children were obviously excited and the moms… Yes, you guessed it right – extremely ‘anxious’.  My what’s app was flooded with numerous messages. As I saw over 200 messages on my daughter’s school what’s app group I guessed it was mom’s sharing their apprehensions and worries. It happens, its natural. We are moms, we will worry about our child’s well- being. Particularly so in current times when we hear about incidents where child security is compromised.

The group of kids travelling are 7- 8 years old, third graders. It is just right now that they have become a bit independent. They can’t be on their own, but being a part of this trip is completely voluntary. It isn’t a school field trip; it’s a pleasure trip so there isn’t compulsion to send kids on this trip but since kids are excited they have forced the parent to allow them.

So, a new what’s app group has been formed by the parents to share relevant information while kids are on the trip and provide each other support. That was the reason I had joined the group.

But when I read those over 200 messages with nothing too relevant apart from moms discussing only their worries, I was surprised. I was very calm and had not freaked out worrying about the entire trip. Suddenly I started questioning myself, Am I a normal mom? Or do I not care enough for my child? Why am I not feeling anxious or worried about my child?

 On introspection I realized that there are two reasons of me not being worried.

  1. It’s not my daughter’s first trip without me. Last year she had taken her first flight alone to Goa from Mumbai. My parents received her on the airport and she went vacationing with my paternal family for a week. So, I knew my daughter can stay without me.
  2.  I was not such a confident child myself but had been on my trekking trips from school when I was in class 5. I went on my first 3 – day trekking trip when I was in grade 5. When me being a shy and a fearful girl can attempt that and enjoy the trip I was sure my child would too.

I decided to exit the group and asked one of my friend whose daughter was going on the trip let me know if anything important is discussed on the group.

But that also prompted me to write this post and share my views.

I genuinely felt that once you have decided to send your child on the trip please relax. You have already decided, being tensed and apprehensive and thinking negatively is not going to help you.

So here are my thoughts on How to keep cool when your child is away from you for the first time.

  • Be mentally prepared: The Day will eventually come when your child will express the need to be independent and not need you for everything. Be mentally prepared for it. Rather raise your child to be independent. You can’t protect them all the time and you need to empower them to learn to protect themselves. Don’t hold on to your child. Let them be free. This will help you relax a bit.
  • Be equipped with all the details: Collect relevant details pertaining to transportation, itinerary, accommodation. Discuss with the school the specifics of overnight trip organized by them. Ask the school for information about the number of teachers, nurse and helpers travelling with the kids. Tag all the belongings of the child. Fill in the registration form for the trip with due diligence so you do not write down incorrect information. This will assure that the school has relevant personal information in place if they wish to contact you in case of any emergency. And most importantly, teach your child to carry the school identity card at all time on the trip. Mostly, the school stays in contact with the PTA member while on overnight trips, so make sure you have the members phone numbers.
  • Do not transfer your anxieties to your child: It’s your first time but it’s theirs too. Thus, I insist that you do not freak out in front of the child. Once you have all the information and you know that they will be safe, you should hide your fears and anxieties in front of the child and worry in private. Overnight trip is a very important developmental moment for the child. I believe a parent ruins it completely by worrying in front of the child. While the child is excited to travel, just encourage them. In case if its a pleasure trip, its voluntary so a child who isn’t confident enough to stay away from parents will not demand to be on the trip.  But if it’s mandatory and part of the school curriculum then you will have to positively motivate them. Kids seek confidence from parents. They are observing, and you need to show the correct attitude. They look for reassurance from you. They will look for that confidence in your eyes and through your words.You need to tell them, ‘I am sure you will manage’. ‘You will enjoy a lot along- with your friends.’ You need to know and accept that there will be minor ups and downs. You need to prepare them to manage without you.

I feel when the child stays away from the parent for his first overnight trip it is a realization and self- learning for the child that he can be on his own.

Children should get the message that you want them to be free from anxieties and you like that they are now becoming independent. Celebrate their independence and that see the results.

Has your child been on an overnight trip? Do share your experience in comments. Also let me know if you found this post helpful.

Coming up next in the series – my daughter’s account on her experience from the trip.

See you, until then

Happy Parenting!

Featured Image Courtesy: Pixabay

17 comments

  1. Kudos to you Aesha. When you are confident and believe in your child then it is easier to make your child independent. It is good to leave such irritating groups where moms themselves don’t know what to do. If they are so worried then why are they sending their children?

  2. Wow my son is still a toddler but I’m already stressing abt future trips where my son will be without his mum on school trips. But you are right no passing anxieties to our children and always encourage them to be independent by going on school field trips. Great that you kept so calm though kudos to you and your daughter.

    • Thanks Sharvari. I am sure once he grows up, you shall do what is in his best interest. I believe a parent should not be judged for their decisions. To each his own. But I have seen that my daughter enjoyed and learnt quite a few skills by being on her own and so I advocate that they should be given such exposure and opportunities

  3. I would get very anxious but I understand that, it’s necessary for the child to discover himself.
    We never really have any such excursions in our school. Overnight is still ok for a starter.
    Our school had a trip for a week, and it didn’t appeal to me at all:(

    • Yes, Zainab.Every mom does feel anxious when it is the first tiem. There are many groups which organise over night excursions. They also have mother-child camps. You could start with that, I guess. It will make you more confident to let your child be on his own for a couple of days.

  4. Being a bit anxious is natural, but I agree that it is important to better prepare the child and have confidence in them rather than worrying and scarring them off.

  5. What I loved most in this post is the way you say it – “once you have decided to send your child on the trip please relax. You have already decided, being tensed and apprehensive and thinking negatively is not going to help you”. It is so true. I personally feel all such Whatsapp groups are full of negativity and a drain on one’s energies. Seldom is something constructive discussed.
    Those are helpful tips which I will surely make use of a few years down the line when my son leaves for his first overnight trip. 🙂
    I am glad your daughter had a good learning experience on the trip.

    • Thanks a lot Anamika for reading and appreciating . I agree about the school what’s app groups. I have exited all groups as there is indeed negativity & school bashing on it. I am glad you found the tips helpful. Yes, Mishti did have a fun time & it indeed was a learning experience for her.

  6. Oh! Aesha this is really great and you had shared wonderful points. being an overprotective mom, I need this. I always had fear and anxieties when my daughters are away from me, your post has given me some great points to be relaxed. looking forward to reading Mishti’s trip experience, hoping she had a wonderful time.

  7. Great. Can learn a tip or two from u. In my case, I worry more because Anjaneya is totally fearless. He doesn’t care about the consequences. I m sure Misti had a great time and of course an experience for a life. I would love to read her experience and her stories.

    • Thanks Priya. Being fearless is an awesome facet and attitude to have towards life. Parents feel that if kids are not cautious when they are around , they will just be uncontrollably while they are unsupervised by parents. However let me assure you, it will be other way round. If you trust them , make them feel responsible for their own well being they will be careful alwsys

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