Preparing for Boarding School? 6 Tips to Help Your Child Transition
Boarding schools have endured as an education for a reason. Often, boarding schools offer exclusive programs to a group of students who are united by their age, interests, and goals. But no matter how obvious it is that boarding school is the right choice for your son or daughter, the transition can still prove difficult.
Whether your child will attend school in a neighboring state or abroad, you can take these six simple steps to help him or her acclimate more easily.
Before Your Child Leaves
You and your child may feel intimidated about boarding school before you say your final goodbyes. Use these tips to encourage excitement and diminish misgivings for both of you.
1. Communicate About the Expectations
The scariest prospect of most new ventures is the unknown. You may want to implement a routine similar to the one your child will live by before he or she leaves.
Additionally, find out what your child's travel, arrival, and move-in situation will be so that he or she can feel more control over the situation.
2. Pack in Advance
Your child may receive a packing list along with his or her school packet. If so, use this list to start packing immediately. If not, come up with a list with your child, taking into account differences in the weather where you live and the weather at the boarding school.
Packing a little at a time well in advance can diminish the anxiety your child feels about forgetting prized belongings.
During the First Two Weeks
For many children and parents, the first two weeks of a boarding school term feel the hardest. Use these tips to make the time pass easier.
1. Correspond Often But Not Constantly
While it's important to stay in touch with your child, do your best not to intrude. Your child will need some time to adjust to the routines and expectations at school.
You may choose to email or send letters rather than call or visit to give your child the space he or she needs to acclimate.
2. Gauge Your Child's Emotional Response to the Change
Many students experience some degree of homesickness during this initial period. In most cases, homesickness is a temporary discomfort.
Gauge your child's emotions in your correspondence. If you suspect that he or she needs more support, talk to residence hall supervisors. These professionals can monitor your child's behavior for any unusually intense responses to the transition.
During Your Child's First Term
Once your child makes it through the initial trial period and truly begins to enjoy his or her studies, housemates, and activities, you can take a step back. But you should take these steps to help your child feel connected to home.
1. Keep Up With Your Child's Life
Distance needn't make you and your student strangers. Keep up with your child's progress, as well as his or her interests, friends, and passions.
Doing so will help you understand how best to parent your child during this life stage.
2. Visit When/If Permitted
The best thing you can do for your child during his or her first boarding school term is to provide a lowpressure connection to home. If permitted, visit or video chat with your child to keep your relationship strong and current.
Rely on the expertise of your chosen school's administration. Boarding school professionals have the training and qualifications necessary to guide most students into their most productive educational path.
Address any concerns you have directly with your child's teachers, residence hall supervisors, and school administrators.
Use the tactics listed above to empower your child to make a stay at boarding school one of the most successful periods of his or her life.