Winter, one of the seasons that children like the most has officially begun. Everybody is looking forward to sledding, snowballing and playing in the snow.
At this time of the year many kindergartens and schools also organize mountain excursions. Maybe you have faced a situation where your child wanted to travel with his/her classmates and have some fun there, but you were not sure whether to let him do that. You may wonder when is the right time for children to go on a trip without you. In this blog post I shared with you some of my experience regarding this issue, and help you resolve concerns. First of all, going on an excursion with their peers and teachers can be a valuable experience for children. It is not only an opportunity to get to know the world around them, but also to explore various possibilities, become more independent, gain new friends and return home with wonderful memories they will always remember. However, many parents think that kindergarten children are still too young and not prepared enough to go on an such a trip. I wanted to discover what is the reason that keeps parents from letting their children go on a trip with kindergarten or school, so I talked with moms in my neighbourhood. I also visited forums where parents shared their experiences and thoughts. I found out that the biggest concern is (dis)trust in educators. Parents are not sure if they will know how to respond to your child needs; they are worried about bed time stories and tucking into bed; will the educators notice that the child is sweating at night and has to change his/her clothes, or if they are in pain of any kind; will the educators be able to comfort them, and are the children safe while teachers are taking care of them.
First of all, every child going on an excursion will be under constant surveillance of experienced teachers. They are not strangers, as kids spend several hours with them each day and thus know them very well. You will be able to contact them and speak to your child. During the conversation, try to listen what he/she has to say, ask them how they are, how did they spend the day, rather than inquire about the weather, if they are wearing jackets or things like that. Furthermore, parents are afraid their child might get ill, so they ask questions like: What are the hygienic conditions regarding the accomodation? Will the child have an adequate health care if he/she gets ill? What if eczema or some other skin reaction happens because of the hotel sheets or detergent used for washing pillowcases and blankets… Certainly, you will get all the necessary information regarding hygiene and other conditions in the resort from your child’s teacher. In general, these resorts are specially designed for children. Every year they provide accomodation for a large number of kids from many schools and kindergartens. In most cases educators and teachers are the first to visit such places before taking children on a trip. Parents shouldn’t be worried about health care either, since it is provided by a doctor who is always there for your child if needed, and you may contact him in case your child is allergic to something or requires special kind of therapy. You can also inform teachers about it and send your child’s own pillowcase, sheets, a list of food he/she should not eat…
However, it is better not to exaggerate in anything. Don’t be so worried. Let your child experience something new, without you around. Parents are often overprotecting of their children, denying them the opportunity to spend some memorable moments with their friends. You should be aware that children are often not sure what is excursion all about, so it is important to explain them how it will look like, what activities and games will take place. Tell them they will be surrounded by their friends and other children. Make sure that children understand what they can expect from such a trip. Best friends, favourite teacher, beautiful and interesting places they are going to visit are just some of the reasons why kids would like to go on an excursion. However, it is not unusual for them to spend first night crying, realizing that their parents are not there. But, soon the situation will change. There is hardly a child who does not return home full of memories, wonderful stories and adventures. Children are sometimes too attached to their parents, and if they have never separated from mom and dad before, parents’ fear of letting their child travel without them is even greater. This feeling that the child is still too small to travel alone, that your presence may be required at any time, and that the kids will not cope when they are supposed to do something on their own, is undoubtedly present. These seven or ten days you will probably spend worrying about your child. However, be aware that kids are having a great time together. If you have any problem with your child at home (refusing to eat certain food, or waiting for you to help them take a bath and get dressed), there will be no such thigs at the excursion. In fact, you may be suprised to discover how independent your child can be. Try not to let them know about your fears and concerns. Otherwise, they will be afraid too and give up the idea to go on a trip. Or if they go they will be rather worried about everything. Separation from parents and going on a trip with their peers will help children not only to become independent and build self-confidence, but also to learn new things, develop a competitive spirit and enjoy the outdoors. It is quite normal for your child to be afraid since you are not present. However, try not to worry too much about what will happen with them on the excursion. They will soon forget the initial fear and will be happy to spend time with their friends, playing and discovering new things.
My younger sister, just like me, went on the trip with her friends from the kindergarten for the first time when she was four. I was wondering what she liked the most during visit to the mountain Tara. This is what she told me:
I liked spending time with my friends all day. Even though I cried the first night because I misssed my parents, brother and sister so much, I did not want to go home. We learned many things in a funny way, we were walking through the forest. Most of us liked disco and the games we played there, fancy dress ball and competition in making hairstyles. Going on an excursion can help children overcome their fears, as I overcame mine that something bad would happen to me when I was without parents. I’ve become independent.
My sister Kjara (9) and I have lots of nice memories from our excursions. That is why we would like to advice you not to hesitate, but rather pack your child’s favourite toy, and with a smile on your face send him or her on a trip. Would YOU let your child go on a trip while in kindergarten? Share with us your comments and experience.