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Ten Year old on ski trip.

(30 Posts)
Saski Mon 04-Feb-13 10:58:48

My son (almost 10.5 years, in year five) is meant to be going on the school ski trip (abroad - Alps) over half term. He was enthusiastic at the prospect nine-odd months ago and now has seriously cold feet, tears at bedtime, etc.

It would be his first time away from home for more than 2 days - his school residential trip, which incidentally, was great.

He will be rooming with three boys from his year, all of whom either are or have been good friends, depending on the day.

I don't know what to do? On the one hand, it seems cruel to force him to go. On the other, he very enthusiastically agreed to go, we've paid, and (most importantly) I think he's going to be filled with regret if he doesn't go.

What would you do?

Primrose123 Mon 04-Feb-13 11:14:57

Poor boy. I understand how he feels - or rather my DD did. We had a similar situation when she went on her residential trip in Year 6. It was a week, but only in this country.

She is a very happy confident girl, but has always wanted to be home at night. She wanted to go on the school trip, but just like your son, as it got closer, we had tears, she didn't want to go etc. I wasn't going to force her to go, but I did say to her that she might be a little homesick at times, but I didn't think she would be unhappy all week, so if she could cope with feeling sad now and again she would be ok. She did go, it was her choice, and she had a wonderful time.

All the children from the year above told them not to worry about being homesick, and said the same things that I told her. They weren't allowed to take phones, but the teachers texted us just to say they had arrived safely and everything was fine.

They were homesick at times, all of them. DD was ok mostly. She missed us at nighttime, but I told her to take a good book, and not think about us too much, and the week would fly by. I didn't want her crying in bed and making herself feel worse. She now says it was the best week ever, and still talks about it over a year later.

I do think it's very young for your son to have a school trip abroad! Has he skied before? Is that what's worrying him?

If I were you, I wouldn't force him to go, but I would persuade him that it would be worth going. The good points, (skiing, holiday with friends, all the fun they will have, and the memories) must outweigh the bad points - missing his family. Explain to him that he might be homesick at times, but it's only for a short time. Point out to him how quickly a week goes by.

I hope he goes and has a wonderful time!

Saski Mon 04-Feb-13 11:25:46

Thanks primrose! I should add that we went skiing over
Xmas and I had him in ski school about 6 days to prep for this - he's a confident skier.

I feel that there's a big leap wrt how a child copes away between years 5 and 6 so your response is giving me even more pause!

My husband and I are leaning towards him making the decision. I don't think either of us can chuck him on a coach and say goodbye if he's n

Saski Mon 04-Feb-13 11:26:12

Oops- not happy to go.

Rosevase Mon 04-Feb-13 11:29:37

Talk to the school, and more specifically the trip leaders at the school. He will absolutely not be the only one who had cold feet and when there if he is a little homesick, he will not be the only one again. How they handle it says most about whether or not he should go.

(Fwiw, my 10 year old is skiing with school at Easter and I would (and will !) just chuck her on the coach... But I KNOW she would be absolutely fine after a hour or three, and she'll enjoy the skiing once doing it.)

fieldfare Mon 04-Feb-13 11:56:26

If that were my dd in that situation I would be telling her she has to go. I'd talk everything through with her to see if something was bothering her that we could talk about/help with, but ultimately if it's been paid for then it's happening.

Saski Mon 04-Feb-13 12:04:52

I will most definitely take whatever is in his bank account if he doesn't go (which will be about 1/4 the cost of the trip, I think). His decision has to carry some kind of financial penalty.
I am speaking with one of the teachers today. He really likes 2 of the 4 who are chaperoning.

Mama1980 Mon 04-Feb-13 12:10:19

Hi have to say I would be making him go. I was 10 when I went to holland with the school I decided a week before that I desperately didnt want to go I couldn't sleep I cried screamed begged. My mum literally put me sobbing onto the coach and said basically tough luck, get on with it. By the time I reached Calais I was fine, and had a amazing time im so glad she forced me, she later told me she cried the whole way home! it Gave me a lifelong love of travelling and i ended up on several more school trips. Personally I think tough love is needed in this situation.

Primrose123 Mon 04-Feb-13 12:22:26

Saski, I know what you mean about the age of the child. My DD was nearly 11 when she went, and was one of the oldest. Some of the younger children had only just had their 10th birthdays.

Your DS is going abroad though - I can see why that may worry him. If he's really unhappy, you can't just drive to get him.

I agree with Rosevase, talk to the teachers and see how they plan to cope with the inevitable homesickness.

What is worrying him? Is it being away from family and home? I told my DD that she probably would feel homesick at times, but it wouldn't kill her and she should be brave and get through it. We all hate the thought of our children being unhappy, but unless he's terribly miserable for the whole holiday, it won't do him any harm. (I sound like a really hard cruel Mum don't I? I'm not, honestly, I'm a big softy grin. When my other DD went on her first school ski trip, we booked our ski holiday for the same week in a resort about half an hour's drive from where she was staying - see I'm a softy!). DD had a wonderful time, meeting her off the coach was the best moment ever, we had such a long hug! It did her confidence the world of good too.

Is he saying he definitely doesn't want to go, or is it just that he's nervous and needs a lot of encouragement?

Saski Mon 04-Feb-13 12:35:31

Thanks everyone. Primrose, my son is not extremely adventurous - he was the last one in reception to go on playdates without me, etc. I gather from the other mothers that the boys in his year are not having anxiety about the trip.

His views on the trip vary wildly from one day to the next. Last night he spoke to my in-laws about the trip on the phone just before bed, and this led to a serious wobble.

In my heart of hearts, I do believe that he would enjoy it once I was out of sight- but I do harbor some doubts.

Rosevase Mon 04-Feb-13 19:22:46

It is only the alps. If the worst came to the absolute worst, he really is not a million miles away. If he's worried about (for example) if he had an accident and you weren't there, just reassure him you'd be on the next flight over. That's what my DD was worried about and I just rolled my eyes and said there are dozens of flights a day to geneva. I could get on one and be with you if you broke a leg, but could she try not to please grin

Honestly, I would just make him go. Both of you will regret it otherwise I think from what you've written and it wouldn't do his street cred at school much good....! Esp for the boys he is supposed to be sharing with.

middleagedspread Mon 04-Feb-13 19:26:47

He's confident on the slopes? He'll have great time being in the advanced group. IME the school ski trips are so full on that by bed time they're too exhausted to be homesick.
Definitely persuade him to go.

HedgeHogGroup Mon 04-Feb-13 19:51:19

I've just come back from a school skiing trip with 50 primary school children (yr 4-6). It was the first time some of them had been abroad (flying) and they were pretty apprehensive.
A couple of them cried on the first night but after that they were too tired to think about being homesick. I was sympathetic the 1st night but after that I got tough. I told them that their parents had paid a lot of money for them to go and would be hurt to think that they were spending it all moping about and wishing they were at home.
By the end of the week those same children were saying they didn't want to go home and one of them has already asked about going again next year.
My point is (if you've read this far!) ... don't let a little bit of homesickness put into jeopardy the trip of a lifetime with old friends and possible new friends.

DameFanny Mon 04-Feb-13 19:56:09

Do you think the ILs said something to him? Is it worth finding out what they said?

I'm in the make him go camp myself - I scored a couple of free holidays as a kid when my elder sister chickened out, and I can see how her life - successful as it is - has been constrained by staying in her comfort zone.

Saski Mon 04-Feb-13 20:57:23

You guys are all giving me pause! Thank you very much for taking the time to weigh in, I was really expecting a definitive NO.
MIL says the conversation was completely unremarkable.
Fortunately he received some good test scores today & came home happy and upbeat, says he is leaning towards going (blithely unaware of our veto power).

TheSnowFairy Mon 04-Feb-13 21:07:42

"If that were my dd in that situation I would be telling her she has to go. I'd talk everything through with her to see if something was bothering her that we could talk about/help with, but ultimately if it's been paid for then it's happening."


Saski Tue 05-Feb-13 10:24:50

Thanks again for your time everyone.

Today he's a bit more upbeat at the prospect.

More for your consideration: mobile phones or internet devices are banned. I am considering smuggling one into his bag so he can text - he says this will help. I am aware of the rationale (kids have breakdowns after speaking with parents) but I disagree.


BartletForTeamGB Tue 05-Feb-13 10:34:31

NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Don't do that! It can make it far worse! The teachers will be able to let him give you a call if he needs to, but hidden mobile phones make homesickness much worse.

Let me go and find the advice I give parents before Brownie/Guide holidays...

VivaLeBeaver Tue 05-Feb-13 10:36:29

I'd send him and wouldn't let him take a phone.

What you going to do if he rings you crying saying he's missing you? You won't be able to do anything. For dd anyway I know talking to me would make her worse after she's put the phone down.

BartletForTeamGB Tue 05-Feb-13 10:37:44

Homesickness - No mobile phones/little messages in their luggage/visits as they can exacerbate homesickness. We’ll be going for distraction & hugs

lease do:
Pack with your Brownie so she knows where everything is
Encourage your Brownie that she’s going to enjoy her holiday & that it is an adventure
Make farewells brief & calm
Arrive & leave on time & promptly (if you arrive early on Sunday, please wait ....)

Please don’t:
Arrive early (it can disrupt the last part of the programme & upset other girls)
Tell your daughter you’re going to miss her (it might make her feel guilty about coming)
Make changes at home (even minor ones like rearranging the furniture)
Let your daughter know all the fun things that she’ll be missing at home

SanityClause Tue 05-Feb-13 10:43:45

The trouble with phones is, that if they call you in the middle of the night, and want to go home, what the hell are you supposed to do?

Whatever you do, don't let him take a phone. Perhaps agree with a teacher, that if he really wants to talk to you, they will let him use their phone. (They would anyway, but make sure he knows it, for reassurance.)

Saski Tue 05-Feb-13 16:02:40

You guys are amazing. Thanks esp for the Brownie tips. What a helpful lot of strangers you are! X

Hullygully Tue 05-Feb-13 16:09:40

I'd tell him it will be brilliant but that IF he gets desperately unhappy and wants to come home, I'd go and get him. Then he'll have that little bit of confidence in a safety net that might be enough to tip the balance.

Just pray it doesn't all go wrong and you have to dash to the Alps...

Saski Tue 05-Feb-13 16:13:42

I have told him that i would go and get him if necessary - how much do I not want to do that? I think if we can just get him on the bus, all will be OK.

Saski Tue 12-Feb-13 16:25:09

Thanks again to everyone for your very kind and thoughtful responses.

He went. It was very hard and we both were crying, and this was despite the fact that my husband and I both told him he could skip it from about T-5 days onward. We all had cold feet.

In any case I don't really recommend a 10 year old going on the one week school trips, it's been pretty hard and sad. He seems too young.

thanks everyone X

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