anxious-students

Posted: 20 June 2022

Child Anxious About a School Trip?

School trip anxiety has the potential to stop some children enjoying what should be unforgettable educational experiences.

But there’s lots that can be done to help these children and ensure that they don’t miss out on an experience that could really help build their confidence and independence and support their wellbeing.

Preparation

It’s never a bad idea to ensure that parents and students have as much information as possible regarding the finer details of your trip, i.e. what you’ll be doing and when.

For any students that are feeling anxious about the trip, you could suggest that parents take some time to look at the places you’ll be going with their child, so that the child can get some familiarity with these new places before you get there. This will help to reassure them.

Think about how parents and children are going to keep in touch. Will you be allowing students to use mobile phones? Speaking to parents may reassure some students, but for others this could exacerbate their homesickness.

You may want to think about a way that parents can be reassured that their anxious child is enjoying themselves, without disrupting the child. You could update them via phone or text, or you could even post images on your social media – nothing is more reassuring than seeing their child smiling.

Whatever you decide to do, getting all this organised and communicated to parents well in advance of the trip will help both parents and students feel reassured. And having everything sorted in advance will mean you are calmer too, so you don’t inadvertently pass on any of your anxieties to the children.

Help them to face their fears

If students are feeling anxious about the trip, it’s important not to dismiss their anxieties. They need to know that you understand their feelings, but that you and the other adults on the trip are in control and they do not need to worry.

Listen to their worries. They are likely to have thought of many improbable scenarios – try not to say that those situations definitely won’t happen, but reassure them that they are very unlikely to happen, and there is a plan of action if they do, so they do not need to worry.

If you know some children are anxious about the school trip but they’re struggling to communicate their worries to you, you could consider a questions box for the trip.

This would allow students to ask you questions about the trip anonymously. It would also give you the opportunity to prepare your answers, rather than be put on the spot!

Focus on what’s familiar

Part of the joy of a school trip abroad is the opportunity to explore a new place and new culture and while many children will embrace this experience, others may find it very daunting.

Many anxious children will feel better on a school trip if they are allowed to bring something familiar from home, so try to accommodate this if at all possible.

And why not set aside some time each day to have a relaxed chat with all the students about the things that are different and the things that are similar compared to what they’re used to at home?

For the anxious students this will show them that this is not such an alien setting and will focus them on what feels familiar. And for all the students it’s a great opportunity to delve deeper into the local culture and ensure that they really are soaking up their surroundings.

Remember, we’re here to help.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for any information you may need to help reassure an anxious child and their parents. We want your school trip to be an enjoyable experience for the whole group.

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