Is 9 Too Young for School Trips Abroad?

My eldest son is currently away on a school skiing trip. He's only 9. When I was at prep school, the furthest we went on a school trip was down the road to the local swimming pool, and that was ruined by at least half of the children throwing up on the coach



As a parent, I feel I need to allow my son to spread his wings, whilst secretly dreading the idea of him being away.

It seems to be the case that it's the ones left behind who suffer the most.

Siblings that aren't on the trip

My youngest is distraught about his brother being away on a school ski trip. He's pretty much moved into our bed for the week, and has been having nightmares about his brother skiing off a cliff.

However, he has also become quite crafty about using emotional blackmail to get his way. For example, on a trip to London he conned me into buying up half of Hamleys by squeezing out some tears whilst telling me how much he missed his brother.

I'm a sucker for a sad face.

Victorian dad and changing pants

When I tell my husband that 9 does seem a bit young for our son to be going away, he just gives me a withering look. My husband is ex-Army and if he had his way they'd both have gone off to boarding school as soon as they could wipe their own bottoms.

We've now taken to calling him "Victorian Dad".

My main concern, if I'm honest, was whether my son would change his pants. I don't mean every day, I mean if at all. He's been away to cub camp before and came home in exactly the same clothes he went in, with his bag not even unzipped.

He takes after his Dad in that respect, who only ever takes one pair of pants on holiday, regardless of the time away.

Saying goodbye before the school ski trip

The worst part for me was actually saying goodbye. We had to drop the children at school and waited around for the coach so we could wave them off.

My son showed no signs of sadness or anxiety. He was racing around with his mates, with passport and Euros flying out of his pockets.

When it came to boarding the coach, all his friends were waving at their parents, and telling them how much they would miss them. My son threw his backpack over his shoulder and then flicked me the "major loser" sign before grinning and running onto the bus. Totally gutting but at least it had the effect of stemming my tears. And in any case, I had the last laugh when he was made to sit next to a girl (my son's idea of hell, especially for 16 hours).

Looking forward to coming home

It does feel very strange without him here. There are the obvious pluses - less washing, fewer arguments, less noise. I'm sure that as soon as he is home I will be cursing that I didn't make the most of him being away.

That being said, I really can't wait to see his little face at the coach window when we pick him up on the weekend. But this time I will be ready with my own obscene hand gestures, just in case.

Amanda Coxen, Working Mum and Tinies Director

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