Sending your son or daughter to boarding school is a fantastic way to give them the best possible start in life. It offers the chance for a top quality education, plus the opportunity to develop invaluable life skills and make lifelong friendships. That doesn’t mean it’s an easy decision to make, though, and when the beginning of term approaches, you might find that the prospect of your child leaving home is daunting for both of you. Here are some top tips to help you prepare:
Talk openly with them
Honest and open dialogue is critical for helping your child get ready for boarding school. Encourage them to tell you how they’re feeling – what they’re looking forward to, what they’re nervous about, and so on. That way, you can directly address any concerns they may have, tackle their fears, and ensure that they feel more positive about the situation. For instance, if they’re nervous about staying away from home, then have a practice run where they spend the night with a friend or family member to get used to it.
Keep a positive attitude
You may well be feeling sad or anxious about the idea of sending your child away from home, but try not to let it have a negative influence on them. Of course, you can let your son or daughter know that you will miss them, but be sure to focus on the positive aspects such as the fun extracurriculars available, and all the advantages they will enjoy by going to a boarding school such as Rugby School, so that they feel excited.
Encourage independence early
Boarding school may well be the first time your son or daughter has had to be independent and responsible for themselves, so encouraging this behaviour while they are still at home can be a big help. Find out what sort of chores they might have to do (for instance, making their bed) and have them get used to those jobs in advance. Likewise, get them used to taking responsibility for their school work, packing their school bag, and so on. All of this will make it easier for them to settle in.
Familiarise yourself with the school
Both you and your child will feel less nervous about them heading off to boarding school if you feel that you know the place they’re going to. Attend any events the school holds before the start of term, have a look around the campus if possible, or even just check their social media regularly. This will help you both to visualise what it will be like for your son or daughter to study and live there, making the prospect less intimidating.
Make a plan for keeping in contact
If you’re worried that your child will get homesick, it can be helpful to talk to them about how and when you’ll keep in touch with each other. Whether it’s emails, letters, phone calls or video chats, knowing that you’ll be there if they need you can be very reassuring. Just remember that once they get settled in, they might be having too much fun to stick to the timetable you talk about!