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Should I send my son on the residential trip?

(19 Posts)
cloudskitchen Mon 18-Nov-13 06:55:31

My son is 8 and has a 3 night residential trip coming up next year when he's just 9.

Last year when he was in year 3 there was a 2 night residential trip that I made him go on even though he really didn't want to. I made him go because I "knew" he'd love it when he got there. He didn't. He hated it.

Now the year 4 letter is home and he really doesn't want to go. What do I do? Do I make him go because its "character building" or do I listen to him and let him be one of only a few kids that misses it.

I don't want him to spend the next 6 months with this hanging over his head or the rest of forever remembering that I made him do something he hates. Equally I don't want him to miss out on something that should be great fun.


Sparklingbrook Mon 18-Nov-13 06:57:51

Given that he has tried one and hated it I wouldn't send him. He says he doesn't want to go so that's ok.

He's 8 and there will be lots more trips in the coming years.

OddBoots Mon 18-Nov-13 06:58:58

Is there likely to be another residential in a year or two? If so then let him decide, if he doesn't go but later regrets it then he'll try the next one but pushing him to go might make him never want to.

Maria33 Mon 18-Nov-13 07:02:54

I wouldn't send him. My ds was the same with the year 6 residential. I made him go because I 'knew' he'd love it. He didn't but he went. Now I'd let him choose as he knows what it involves and knows whether he's up for it.

Weirdly, it's easier at secondary school because not all kids go on all the trips. In primary, there was more pressure to go.

bigTillyMint Mon 18-Nov-13 07:03:51

I agree.
If there is going to be another trip in Y5 and/or Y6, ask him what he wants to do and if he doesn't want to go, let him miss it. He can try again when he's a bit older.

FWIW, I have taken hundreds of children on school journey, and never had any that wanted to go home/got homesick. But we only took Y5/6 and it wasn't compulsory, ie those who didn't want to come, didn't have to.

cloudskitchen Mon 18-Nov-13 07:32:43

Thanks for all the replies. Yes there are trips in year 5 and 6 as well. The year 5 one is a particularly good one.

One more thought is I could offer to go as a helper as long as dh is not away on a trip. The only issue being that I would have to tell the school its both of us or neither of us which is not a good position to put them in.

Sparklingbrook Mon 18-Nov-13 07:34:41

No, I wouldn't go as a helper if I were you. Big up the Year 5 trip and give this one a miss.
I know exactly what you mean about him missing out on fun, but he seems quite happy not to go.

Roshbegosh Mon 18-Nov-13 07:44:15

I wouldn't make him go. If all the others come back from the trip saying they had a great time he will want to go on the next one. I wouldn't force him against his will, it won't be character building it is likely to be miserable for him. He will let you know when he is ready.

bigTillyMint Mon 18-Nov-13 07:56:16

I agree with Sparkling - he needs to build confidence about being away from you, so better to miss this one and try the Y5 trip.

Does he ever get to spend the night at relatives/friends houses? Maybe that would help? Or does he not enjoy the activities planned on the trips?

mammadiggingdeep Mon 18-Nov-13 08:33:49

I wouldn't make him go either. Does he go to cubs? Maybe he could join the local cub group and he might be more inclined to go away with them on camps.

sittinginthesun Mon 18-Nov-13 08:42:19

My son would have absolutely hated to go on a residential trip in years 3 or 4. He can manage a night at his grandma's, but that's about it.

He is, however, really looking forward to the residential in year 6.

In your position, I would listen to your son and not send him this time.

clam Mon 18-Nov-13 09:03:16

Which is worse, that he misses out on something he later regrets, or that you insist he goes when he really doesn't want to and he has a miserable time?
Let him miss it - the positive slant on him regretting it is that it might change his mind for the future trips.

BeckAndCall Mon 18-Nov-13 10:02:03

I'd say it depends why he hated it.

If its because he's away from home and away from you, then I'd say don't send him - there are plenty of times when he'll have to do trips he doesn't want to for school, but none of those are at primary age.

But if he hated it because he didn't like the food, or he didn't like his roommates, or he was cold and wet - then those are things that can be worked through and shouldn't be a barrier to going.

But I suspect it's the former ....

PastSellByDate Mon 18-Nov-13 10:58:56

I've absolutely been there. Both DDs were worried about being away from home for the first time when they went on residential trips (2 nights away) in Y4 - aged 8 - in the end they had a good time and because of that positive experience I've said yes to further trips. However, they have a great group of friends who were very supportive of each other that first trip and have been ever since.

The 'trip' thing is a tick box exercise for the school which has to include countryside experience - part of the curriculum for excellence through outdoor learning (e.g. Scotland and/or campaigning for greater awareness of countryside (e.g. Countryside alliance:

If you're in an urban area the odds are that these residential trips are the school's way of fulfilling that - but it isn't obligatory.

If your son doesn't enjoy it and truly doesn't feel comfortable doing it again - there is little point forcing him.

It also is important that you let the school know why he doesn't want to go - that this is coming from him and his 'bad' experience on a previous trip with them. This is important for the school to address - because at core these are very young children and taking them away for several days really does have to be a positive experience.


Periwinkle007 Mon 18-Nov-13 11:12:50

I think like you say he has tried one before and didn't enjoy it. He is 8 now so he understands what it involves and he has his reasons for not wanting to go. It is still very young. We only had a residential in Yr6 and I think that is young enough personally. overnights at friends or family are different, they are in a known situation, near home, know the building/location, short amount of time etc.

I agree though that it is important the school know it is HIS decision and why he doesn't want to go.

lljkk Mon 18-Nov-13 11:21:47

He doesn't want to go don't send him. Very simple. Most people I know wouldn't think twice about this. Saves you load of dosh, if nought else.

FWIW, I made y5 DS1 go on a trip & had to collect him 2 hours later (I lost £85). Because the school LIED about who he would share rooms with and DS was already in nerves so became totally uncooperative. So am speaking from experience. Do Not Send unless he's wildly enthusiastic.

DS1 has been on many school trips since successfully, including 3 months later (different school). Whereas DS2 will probably never go on any trip, just be a nightmare for all.

cloudskitchen Mon 18-Nov-13 12:53:43

Thank you all so much. You have all helped me hugely with your unanimous verdict. I think I was in such a quandary because he goes to a very large school (5 form entry) and there's only ever a few kids that don't go, not that it means he should if he's not happy but when everyone else is sending their kids you don't want yours to feel left out plus my daughter has been on and loved every one. I agree that if he realises he's made a mistake when they're all away then he'll be more inclined to go in year 5. If not I'll cross that bridge when it comes to it. He has been on one or two sleepovers but prefers his friends to come here instead grin I'll let him make the decision this year and hopefully he'll fancy it more in year 5.

Ihatespiders Mon 18-Nov-13 19:01:04

As a teacher and Brownie Leader ... I've done plenty of residentials where there was a child who was dropped off by parents in the morning and picked up at the end of the day. Is that a posibility for you? That way he gets all the activities but is not away from you at night.

On a Bronwie Pack hol they stayed in a B&B nearby. The others were near enough to be brought from home. It is a very common occurrance for all sorts of reasons.

cloudskitchen Mon 18-Nov-13 20:26:55

Thank you ihatespiders. I would have been willing to do that but unfortunately it's over a hundred miles away so not really an option. As suggested I'll big up year 5s trip which I know he'd really enjoy and farm him out for a few sleepovers to get him more prepared smile

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