My son is in fifth grade and just went on an exciting adventure: a four night school trip to our country’s capital. For the first time he boarded a plane without his family. Yes, I felt like crying.
I’m happy for him but there’s a part of me that just feels he grew up too fast. It’s as if this giant step left him all grown up and a part of me will forever lose the younger version of him after he actually enjoyed this overnight trip.
However, as parents, part of our role is to give our children the tools to be independent. I think school trips are a fantastic way of fostering responsibility, independence and also teach so many things you cannot learn in a classroom. Even if it means your tween leaves on an overnight trip.
5 Tips when your child goes on a school trip
As I prepared for this trip, I learned a few things. Here are my top tips when your child leaves on an overnight school trip:
Tips for your tween’s overnight trip 1 of 6As our kids grow up, we need to let them explore and be more independent. School trips are a great way to allow your tweens to feel more independent while they are under adult supervision.
Pack in advance 2 of 6make a list of everything you need and begin packing many days before the departure date.
Use bags to classify clothing 3 of 6Make it easy for your child to find his or her belongings. I like to group underwear, socks, pajamas and t-shirts in zippered bags to keep everything organized. I also label the bags with my child's name.
Label everything 4 of 6No matter how organized and responsible your child is, it's always best to have all their clothing items and personal belongings with their name so it will be easier to find in case they misplace anything.
Give your child a gift card 5 of 6They can use it as a debit card: most schools have strict policies on how much money to give your child and it is advisable to follow the official guidelines. However, if a flight is involved, a gift card with $20 or $25 can be a lifesaver if your child is hungry and wishes to purchase a sandwich or snack on board, since most airlines do not accept cash.
Make copies of the itinerary and contact information provided by school officials 6 of 6Even better, take pictures of all that information on your smartphone so you can have it handy.
In case you’re wondering, my son came back super happy, elated almost. Plus, he learned so much that I was happy we let him go.
Photos: Jeannette Kaplun