Handy tips for first time residential experiences
Is your child going on a residential trip this year? And do you remember yours? Most often it’s an unforgettable trip for many reasons, but mostly the excitement of being with friends and experiencing something new. That daunting, apprehensive feeling before your first residential isn’t something we tend to remember, but can be really challenging for even the most outgoing child.
It’s only natural to feel nervous when embarking on a new adventure, and that feeling is very real for lots of parents too; when their pride and joy is off on their first independent trip. Will they remember to drink water? Will they remember sunscreen? They may not, but our brilliant team of caring camp leaders will. Each group has a designated team at Skern Lodge, so they are thoroughly looked after throughout their stay, making sure they have the very best experience.
And it is all so worth it. A Skern Lodge residential will be one of the most compelling, confidence-building, exciting and enjoyable experiences your child will have. We deliver a dynamic programme of activities that your child may not easily get the chance to do, including: abseiling, powerboating, paddle boarding, Jacob’s Ladder, and campfires.
To help ease any pre-trip nerves, here are some handy tips:
Encourage independence: When talking about your child’s first residential, be really encouraging about how great their trip will be for their independence, and how you believe in them and their abilities – they can do this! And they’ll have a great time.
Make a list together: Complete a list of everything your child will be taking and any worries about forgetting something can be eased; as you have your list to tick off (we also have a handy packing list to help with this part). We recommend not taking a toy that means a lot just in case it gets lost – we do have a brilliant ‘lost and found’ system, but can’t always guarantee we will have found a special toy.
Calm anxieties:Encourage your child to share any concerns they may have, as sharing anyworries really helps. Keep communication positive and relaxed. Making a ‘bigdeal’ or counting down to their residential could create even moreapprehension. It may be nice to search for us on the internet and have a lookat our website and activities, so your child can get an idea of where they willbe going and the kind of things they’ll get to do.
Share concerns:If there is something you are particularly worried about, possibly bed-wettingor worries about home-sickness, share these with your school or group’s partyleader. It is better they are aware so they can provide extra support.
Avoid sad goodbyes, and notes! As sad as you may be feeling, keep goodbyes reassuring and positive, and most importantly, short. As much as it may feel like a good idea to leave a note in their suitcase as a little reminder of how much you love your child, it isn’t. Notes can lead to homesickness and will make it harder to adjust to being away.
Spend a night away: If you have relatives nearby, having your child spend the night away from home could be very beneficial a week or two before their first trip. It could give them a little bit of extra confidence and reassurance that they will be fine away from home.
Being out of your comfort zone and feeling ‘part of it': There could be apprehension around anew environment, taking on activity challenges, friendship groups and generally feeling ‘part of it’. At Skern Lodge, from the moment groups arrive, our progressive itineraries start with orientation and ‘ice breakers’. We very much focus on ensuring every child feels settled and fully informed about the exciting activities coming up, and what they’ll be doing next, as well as, meal-times and water stations. Activities are all ‘challenge by choice’, and we always fully support children and their choice to take part or not.
Remember that no news is good news: Don’t expect to hear from your child when they are away. In fact, take solace in the old saying, ‘no news is good news’. Perhaps use the time to keep busy doing things that you don’t have a chance to usually do. Time will quickly pass. Most schools and groups regularly post on their intranets or social media pages, so you could keep up-to-date on there.
Rest assured, Skern Lodge is rigorously quality and safety checked, and your child is in safe hands. When they are back in your arms, they will be beaming and full of stories about their first residential experience.
Find out more about Skern Lodge, here.