Preparing Your Child For Boarding
Whether your child is familiar with the school or your child is attending the school for the first time attending boarding school could be a difficult transition for your child. Despite the difficulty boarding offers an excellent learning opportunity with some exciting times ahead.
When preparing your child for boarding it is important to introduce routines. This will help your child prepare for the lifestyle found at a boarding house. During their time at boarding school they will be expected to get up at the wake-up call, take a shower and get dressed independently. They will also be expected to make their own bed and keep to the school’s easy to follow routine leaving them well equipped with practical skills required later in life.
Sharing A Bedroom
Most children are used to sleeping in their own room rather than sharing a room with other children. Arranging sleep overs or taking advantage of a school’s flexi-board could help your child get used to sleeping with the sound of other children in the room. Sleeping without a light on may also be a good idea.
Video Games & Television
During their time at boarding school your child will be introduced to a wide range of extra-curricular activities to keep them entertained. The school will likely focus on physical activities and sports to keep your child busy so spending time playing and keeping busy outside instead of in front of the TV will help your child get used to the change in lifestyle. It may also be worth looking at the extra-curricular activities that are available and they would be likely to engage in.
Children that attend boarding school are by team of trained professionals. The schools try to be careful not to swamp a child and their behaviour is monitored by the staff and other boarding pupils. Schools also often typically have a buddy system in place to help children familiarise themselves with the school and the boarding house system.
Children feeling homesick are reassured that it is okay to feel homesick and are encouraged to phone home to reconnect with their families. Many boarding schools also allow children to use their mobile phones in the evening and allow children to call their parents at any time. However checking the schools mobile phone policy and your mobile phone network coverage is advised.
Prepare For Independent Living
Further actions that could be taken to smooth the process include things such such as making sure clothes are properly labelled and practising knotting a tie and tying shoe laces, although you can alternatively opt for velcro shoes or slip-ons. Parents call also take the time to familiarise the child with maps of the school campus and any extra curricular activities they may be interested in.
It could also be worth talking to other parents with children boarding at the school to learn about the latest must have items and fashions amongst the students. Parents should also insure their child has everything from the school’s kit list. It could be upsetting for your child to get into trouble on their first week for not having their rugby boots, hockey stick, laptop or calculator.
When a child joins a boarding school it is only natural for a parent to miss their child. Parents need to adapt to seeing less of their child. Having trust and every faith in the schools pastoral system can be difficult but its teaching system certainly makes the process a lot easier. Although it can be difficult it is best to let your child reach out to you and try to keep the level of contact low. Don’t worry if they don’t call all the time as this is a good sign that they are keeping busy and making new friends.
Emma’s 11-year-old daughter Harriet is in her first term at Bedales, Hampshire. “I did find the first week agony,” she revealed. “We didn’t have any experience of boarding; both our children were at London prep schools. We looked at Bedales partly out of curiosity; Harriet loved it which made the decision easier.” How much contact does Emma have with Harriet? “She phones every evening and speaks to me and her father. In many ways, we talk more now that she boards! I also write her a letter during the week and she writes back, as well as emailing us. These letters go in my keepsake box.”
If you are worried about your child it is recommended that parents meet with the school’s Matron and Housemaster/mistress and ask any questions they may have. Parents can also phone contacts given by the school and discuss any matters concerning their child.
In conclusion boarding can be a fantastic opportunity for your child to grow and learn while offering unique opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to them. The range of extra curricular activities made available at boarding school should help keep your child entertained while learning new skills. Taking the time to prepare your child for the experience can help ease the process while helping you be sure to make necessary purchases and prepare yourself for time with your child away from home.