Entering boarding school can mean valuable new experiences for your child and open up amazing opportunities for them to learn in a new environment. With the right school, such as SISD, they will be supported and nurtured to grow holistically.
Boarding school can also be significant change for your child. Living away from family, even if it’s just flexi-boarding or weekly boarding, can be a challenge for first-time boarders. Here are some important steps you can take to ensure your child’s smooth transition into boarding life.
1. Have a conversation about feelings
Regardless of their age, a child who’s on their way to boarding school may actually experience a similar kind of anxiety that children experience on their first day of school. It’s important therefore to let them discuss their fears and feelings. This way, you’ll get to reassure them that everything’s going to be okay, and also allow you to focus in on the specific things that make them feel anxious.
It’s important to remember that our academic and boarding staff will always be there for your children. Through pastoral care, we endeavour to make our school your child’s second home. By counseling and nurturing, we’ll make sure that their feelings are attended to.
2. Talk about what to expect
By understanding their concerns, you get to have a conversation about what to expect from boarding school. Read through the daily boarding schedule together, look up the facilities, and talk about extracurricular and after-school activities that they can enroll in during their time. You can even take the time to visit the school and explore what’s in store for them, so they can have a more concrete idea of what to look forward to.
Here, more than ever, it’s essential to emphasize the good aspects of boarding life. Socialising, new opportunities, and a brave new adventure will be appealing to your child.
3. Provide them with a keepsake and re-assure them that you are always available to connect.
One of the most important feelings to alleviate for boarding students is homesickness. Giving them a keepsake, such as a family photo, will help anchor them back to you. In the connected world we now live in, its important to remember that they are just a message, call or online chat away.
4. Have them participate in their own preparations
Take them with you when you shop for their supplies, including toiletries, clothes, and school supplies. Let them choose what they need to buy. This is an important step in taking ownership of the situation – your child will actively prepare for the event, not just mentally and emotionally, but in concrete ways as well. It also helps in securing them the independence that they’ll need for boarding school.
Of course, they won’t be left to fend for themselves. At SISD, your children will have everything they need with us, and our faculty and staff will be able to take care of any additional needs they might have.
5. Start putting them on schedules
Boarding life is more scheduled than normal life at home would be. Try to prepare them for this life by having them stick to more structured lifestyles, with fixed dinner and play time, and set homework hours.
Ultimately, the goal is for your child’s transition to be as seamless as possible. By the time they get into the groove of boarding school, they’ll be enjoying and learning so much, they might even forget their anxiety. And as educators who believe in pastoral care and holistic nurturing, we’ll be ready to keep them happy and engaged, and will help their transition in any way we can.