Tips for Residential First-Timers

It’s coming up to that time of year where schools often organise some trips away. But did you know that residentials can actually be beneficial experiences for children? They can promote teamwork, allow children from urban schools to enjoy the outdoors and give children who find classroom learning a struggle a real chance to shine.

That being said, going away from home can be a nerve-wracking experience for kids and parents alike! Here are some tips which helped me and my kids through those residential days.


  • It may seem obvious but do make sure you have everything on the packing list! A few extras which are always useful to have on hand are also tissues, a separate carrier bag or bin bag to keep any dirty or wet clothing separate from the clean and a book (in the unlikely event that your child gets bored or just in case they need a bit of space and alone time away from the madness). Snacks and tuckshop money are also good unless the school has expressly forbidden these.
  • Another essential – check with your child that they have some “unembarassing” pyjamas! Speaking from experience, often the plainer the better.
  • Let your kid pack their own bag – they’re much less likely to leave anything behind if they know what they’ve put in their bag!
  • Put a positive front on it – even if you’re feeling anxious or upset about the upcoming trip, don’t let it show too much, especially if your child is nervous.
  • IF they don’t know already, show your kid how to make their bed and do the dishes. If they’re required to do this when they’re away but don’t know how this could be embarrassing and potentially even lead to tears. Even if they don’t have to do any housekeeping when they’re away, they now have no excuse not to help out at home – it’s a win-win situation!
  • Label everything – believe me, this saves a ton of money as more, if not all, of your kid’s belongings will make it home with them.


Waving your kids off for a week of adventure is always slightly heart-wrenching but knowing that you’ve prepared them to the best of your abilities goes a long way towards helping you to feel slightly better about it all. They’ll also be back before you know it and probably full of exciting stories, ready for bed and with a suitcase full of dirty clothes for you to lovingly wash!


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