Prepare Your Child for a First Overnight Trip without You
By: Chloe Taylor
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Kids grow up so fast, and before you are willing to admit it, they are ready to go on their first trip without you. Be aware though, that they are not quite ready to pack and prepare, and they still need your guidance, especially when it comes to kindergarten or elementary school outings. Their first trip is both exciting and frightening, for you and for them, so you have to do your best to ease the anxiety and do everything within your power to ensure that they have nothing but pleasant memories. Here are some simple tips that will help you with that.
Talk with their teacher
Good communication between parents and teachers is the foundation for a successful, educational and fun trip without any problems. Discussing the travel plan with the teacher is even more important if your child hasn’t given you a paper with daily activities. If you know the details of the outing, it will be a lot easier to pack and speak with your kid about their behaviour. Also, don’t forget to speak out about all your safety and other concerns in time.
Talk to your kid
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Your child is probably beyond excited about this big adventure, and that is normal, but you should try to be the emotionally stable grown up here, and discuss the proper behaviour, safety during transport and on the street, and how important it is to listen to teacher’s instructions. Let your child know that it is ok to ask for teacher’s and other chaperones’ help if any problem occurs during the trip. Try to explain the importance of being attentive and staying with the group, not only because of safety concerns (kids have a hard time understanding that), but also because of socializing and having fun.
Find out about special requirements
Depending on the destination, school policies and other details, your child might be obligated to carry special clothes or uniform. Some trips come with additional costs such as entrance fees for museums and galleries, so your kid might need money for the trip. Allowance can also be useful for buying snacks and souvenirs, but before you set the amount, make sure you talk about responsible money spending.
Packing the bag
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Before you start packing things, it is important to find quality luggage, preferably with plenty of compartments, carry handle and a set of wheels. Compartments will help you organize clothing without rumpling and the wheels and handle will help your kid carry their own suitcase if the hotel doesn’t have a bellboy.
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As for the clothing and other essentials, you will know what to pack depending on the travel itinerary. To make it easier for your kid, pack outfits for each day (if the trip lasts for more than one day) in ziploc bags and write down the day on each of them. Also, prepare one or two extra combinations, just in case of stains and other accidents. Pack the hygiene kit separately. Make sure your child participates in the packing process, so that they know where everything is, and when should it be used on the trip.
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First independent trips are an important milestone in a child’s life, and as such they should be cemented in their memory forever. Encourage your kid to fully remember the trip, by giving them a task of keeping a travel diary, where they can write down the places they have visited, the impressions of some location, the fun experiences with friends, etc. If you trust your kid with a camera or a phone, taking pictures is also a great idea. Single-use cameras are great for such projects. They’re affordable, fun to use and can perform almost as good as regular cameras can. After the trip, ask your child to read the diary or show you the pictures.
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We know it is difficult to let your little one have such a huge experience without you, but school outings are very important for kid’s intellectual, social and emotional development. After the first trip, all the others will be easier, and before you even notice it, your little baby will start packing their own things.