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Residential trips: a parent’s guide

There are lots of milestones in the early years of childhood to look out for as a parent. But as they grow older there seem to be less as changes are more gradual. Going away with school is a major milestone for children and parents!
My eldest, Matthew, is now 9 and has gone away for his second residential trip with school this week. This is a big deal for him and ME!

I am missing him terribly but I know it is an important step for him to grow in independence and obviously at some stage live by himself. My hearts actually aches. I haven’t cried but I’ve been close a few times since waving him off on Monday morning.

His first residential was last year, only 2 nights away from home and less than 10 miles away to add reassurance to both children and parents! This was only a year ago but he looks soooo much younger…


Matthew’s first ever night away from home was not a huge success. He was almost 6 and a half years old and went away with the Beavers. Sadly he didn’t last the night and I had to go and pick him up.
Anya’s first night away back in March this year (also aged 6 and a half) was at a trampoline park so she managed it!


Top tips

  • Talk to the school about any medical or physical issues such as bed wetting
  • Write a packing list and include in their suitcase so it is easy for them to check at the end of the trip
  • Know the expectations and be realistic: will the school send daily texts? are electronic devides allowed? are snacks required? etc
  • Set reminders about behaviour. Overexcitement can make even the best behaved children act up
  • Encourage independence with packing and carrying the case. Let them arrive holding the case so that they act grown up in front of their friends
  • Acknowledge their worries and validate their concerns whilst demonstrating confidence in their abilities and the fun they will have
  • Tell them you will miss them and can’t wait to hear about all their adventures when they get back
At what age did you children have their first residential? Who coped better: them or you?!


  1. Hope he has an amazing time and that your ok. lots of great tips as well. my son goes next year, he is a type 1 diabetic so we have a lot of medical issues that need considering but we hope he cam go and enjoy the week. #stayclassymama

  2. It is a big deal – and it makes the house seem so empty. We had 2 away at the same time once, and one home, and it made me realise what was to come – soon we will be just one kid in the house and that makes me so sad (even tho I’ll have less work to do). But such an exciting time. My eldest is off to a conference at another Uni for a week interstate. I’m quite excited but already missing her (even though we barely see her at home anyway!) So I def hear you! #Stayclassymama

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