Parents naturally worry about their children. From the time that they are born, until they are fully grown adults, we will always worry about their health and happiness. This a natural part of parenting, and if your child is heading off on their gap year then you probably know all too well how worrying about your child’s safety feels. There is a lot of bad out there in the big, wide world, and what will happen if you are not there to protect them? Will they be okay? Will they know how to stay away from dangerous situations?
It’s time to chill. It’s time to start giving your child the opportunity to really explore and understand the world on their own. They now have the time to make their own mistakes, to learn from their own actions and to really grow personally. There may be a lot of risks involved with traveling the world on your gap year, but there are also plenty of positive benefits too. It’s time to put a little faith in your child, after all, they’re no longer young. If you are worried about your child’s gap year, and feel that you would like to give them the assistance they need to really enjoy themselves, then take a look at how you can help them prepare…
Budgeting is probably the number one aspect that you will need to prepare your child for. Many gap year adventurers have never had to really look after their own finances before, so this can be a tricky concept to grasp. Making sure that your child is aware of, and able to stick to to, a well thought out and properly planned budget is a key aspect in making their traveling journey successful. Here are a few of the ways that you can help your child to stick to their budget:
- #1 Working Abroad
Take a look into some of the working and earning opportunities that may be available abroad. Not only will this help your son/daughter to keep their budget topped up, but it will allow them to get some work experience as well. Whether its fruit picking or online work, there are plenty of options available!
- #2 Keeping it Cheap
It may seem a little obvious, but make sure that you are keeping all of the expenses to a minimum. This means making use of cheap meals, cheap East Midlands Airport parking, cheap accomodation and cheap clothing too! As much as we would all love to send our children off to fancy and well cared for hotels, our budgets just won’t cut it. Besides, they are far more likely to meet like-minded travellers in affordable hostels!
- #3 Have a Secret Back Up
If you are really worried about your son or daughter’s finances, then you can always keep a secret back up aside for them. They will probably never need to use it, but having it tucked away somewhere may help to give you piece of mind!
Plan it as Much as You Can
Make sure that you plan everything comprehensively. Plan in where they will be and when, what they will be doing on what days, how they will be spending their time. Book in tours and craft itineraries. You can even book in anomalous time too, when they are free to go and do whatever takes their fancy on those days. By planing everything in, both you and your child will have a full understanding of the process involved in their gap year, and you will be able to follow it along from home!
Keep a Constant Stream of Contact
One of the most powerful ways of subsiding the feeling of worry or tension while your child is on their gap year is to stay in a good stream of contact. This will be beneficial for both them and for you. Homesickness is common in young travellers, while worry is common in their parents. Try to schedule in a day or two each week that you will call, skype or message each other. This will ease both of your anxieties.
Be Emergency Conscious
Worrying is actually a really good thing. It means that you are more likely to prepare for any incidents that may occur. Make sure that you utilise your feelings in order to prepare for any situations that may arise. This means planning back up money, being prepared for your son/daughter to come home early, and taking out some robust travel insurance too. Being prepared for the worst will help you to worry less. Just remember, if something does go wrong then your child can just come back home again.
There are so many things to consider when sending your child off on their gap year, and worrying is a completely natural reaction to have. If you want to prepare your child then make sure that you implement a budget, plan rigorously, keep in good contact and plan for any emergencies that may arise. All of these things will help to prepare your child, while simultaneously working to ease any of your worries. Ultimately, you will have to trust that your son/daughter can look after themselves, and that they have the knowledge and skills necessary to have an incident-free, educationally beneficial gap year experience.