Going off to boarding school is an exciting but also frightening experience for a preteen used to being at home. Making the move from a loving, caring home is bound to give your little one homesickness. Helping him settle down in boarding school will make sure he makes the most of it.
If you are sending your preteen to boarding school, be prepared for an onslaught of mixed emotions. While your kid will be geared up about the independence, he will also be stressed about the unfamiliar environment. Kids can suffer from bouts of loneliness and if untreated, they may become prone to depression! As a mother, you must keep in constant touch with the school and teachers to make sure boarding school bodes well with your child.
How to Get your Child to Love Boarding School?
1. Be Prepared
Involve your kid in shopping, labelling, marking and packing for school so she feels more excited than nervous. Help your child stick to rules for study time and dress code to set a pattern for the day. An early reprimand for breaking a rule can set the tone for your child’s stay at school.
2. Teach Your Kid to Be Organised
One of the biggest changes for the child will be to learn to look after herself and her belongings. Encourage her to be organised through lists, folded clothes, a neat wardrobe and books in order. Lost belongings cannot be replaced instantaneously like at home so tell her to be careful!
3. Encourage Your Kid to Find a Buddy
Some schools have a buddy system where two children are responsible for looking out for each other. If there is no such system in your child’s school, contact your child’s roommate beforehand. This helps build a bond that goes beyond school and lets friends tide over the dreaded homesickness together.
4. Talk About It
Once your kid has found a friend, life gets easier. When he is in a tight spot or when he is going through a low phase, encourage him to talk it out with his friend. It helps to understand that he is probably not the only one going through it.
5. Make Sure He is Busy
Most boarding schools have tough schedules of study, play and sleep. Encourage your child to take up activities he is interested in. This will bring him new like-minded friends, develop a sense of achievement and satisfaction and also keep the loneliness monster at bay.
6. Keep in Touch
Schools usually have a system of letter-writing to parents. Keep in touch with your child’s moods so you can read signs of depression or stress. If the school allows mobile phones and you feel your child is mature enough, you might consider getting him one.
7. Don’t Offload Your Emotion on Your Kid
Mothers, boarding school and separation can be as traumatic for you as for your child. Don’t harp on how much you miss him. Listen more than you talk and encourage him to be happy at school rather than dwelling on home.
With a little preparation and encouragement, boarding school can become a fun place for your child while also imparting valuable lessons in independence. Prepare well to ensure your child is well-equipped for school and very excited!