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23.2.15

How to survive a boys’ football tour | Guest Post

Football tours are exciting, adventurous times for boys but there are certain preparations that must be put into place by parents to make sure their young star gets the most out of it – here are a few tips for both boy and parent.

As soon as the tour is decided the school or sports club should provide parents with an exact itinerary of where the lads will be playing, and when. Encourage your youngster to find out more about where they’ll be going beforehand, so that they can gain a little insight into the trip. You may even want to print out a few bits and pieces for them from sites such as Lonely Planet.

As a parent it’s up to you to make sure your lad has everything he needs. Hopefully the club will have provided a checklist of items, and there may be some that you don’t think about. He’ll need his kit, boots and shin pads as a minimum, and several other changes of clothing. The organiser should have spare pads and boot studs, but there’s no harm in packing some just in case.

If your boy is on medication, or has special dietary requirements, notify the school/coach in good time. If you feel more comfortable in visiting beforehand and explaining the procedures, then arrange an appointment.

Worldwide travel to glamorous locations such as Barcelona, South Africa and Barbados through a company such as InvicTour is a fantastic opportunity for the promising, wide-eyed sportsman, but don’t forget the obvious necessities. Organise your boy’s passport early if he doesn’t have one and check for visa and/or immunisation requirements, if necessary.

Check the itinerary for places of culture/interest that your lads will be visiting.
It might be worth checking with the organiser if phones will be allowed as the boys enjoy places of interest. The school should be sympathetic to the fact that some of these lads will never have been away from their parents or brothers and sisters.

Mobile calls and texts are the easiest way to communicate, and as this Education Business UK piece details there are now intuitive apps that send communication to parents and guardians with news as educational or sports trips progress. Should the worst come to the worst and a crisis develop, then a brief message of assurance to the worried parent at home will be priceless.

If you’ve got everything in place, and your boy is raring to go when he gets on that coach, then you’ve done your job. But don’t think that you’ll be immune to worry and fear about your lad, particularly if he’s never been away from you for any period of time. Even the phone calls and texts will only give you so much comfort.

Maybe you could meet up with other mums and dads of players who are on the trip, for a coffee. They might be feeling the same way and will also probably be happy to alleviate their anxiety over a brew. Maybe you could go out to the cinema or for a meal with any siblings who are left behind. Maybe you could use the time to tidy the house and your boy’s room.

One last thing – why not buy a small present for your son for when he returns, just to show how much you missed him? He will hopefully be energised by the trip and just begging for the next one, but at the same time he’ll be glad of his favourite meal, and seeing his pets and brothers and sisters - and hopefully his parents as well.