No matter how much you prepare students, it’s likely you’ll encounter a student who is experiencing a feeling of being homesick while on your trip. Thankfully, there are some tips for handling the sometimes-delicate situation when it arises.
TALK TO PARENTS AHEAD OF TIME.
It’s important for parents to prepare students before their trip to have healthy coping mechanisms once away from home. Ensure you’re having open lines of communication with parents prior to a trip to not only share trip details, but to inform parents that you’re there to listen to any behavioral concerns they may have about their child being away from home. This could range from specific fears or points of anxiety a student may have to simply experiencing culture shock for the first time.
In addition, ask parents if there’s a specific item or practice that brings their child comfort that they could reasonably bring with them on the trip (a specific blanket, ipod, etc.).
For many students, a class trip may be the first time they’re away from home for an extended period of time—not to mention being away from their family. If a student expresses they’re homesick or are displaying signs of anxiety or worry, meet them first with empathy … not judgement. Acknowledge that these feelings are normal for youth to experience when being away from home. Offer words of encouragement and share excitement about the amazing things on your itinerary students will soon get to experience.
GET ON THEIR LEVEL.
Encourage students who are feeling homesick to live in the moment by offering anecdotes from your own personal experiences or past trips. Providing examples of how other students like them have overcome their fears and anxieties of being away from home is a great way to offer confidence and re-center their minds on enjoying the adventures happening right in front of them.
ALLOW FOR WAYS TO KEEP IN TOUCH.
While class trips are an undeniably wonderful way for students to spread their wings and embrace independence more than they perhaps ever had, it’s important for them to know their parent or guardian is simply a phone call or text away, should they need to talk.
Courtesy of ETI.