The decision to send a child to boarding school can often be emotional for all parties involved, but it often turns out to be a very positive decision for the child. Many boarding schools offer a challenging academic experience that is difficult to match in public schools, or even in local private schools. Your child will also gain a level of independence and maturity, and develop tight bonds with dorm mates and friends. If your child has struggled with behavior, a therapy-based boarding school could help them overcome those issues. Even with all those benefits, the transition to living away from home can be difficult. Below are a few tips on how you can help your child adjust:
Involve them in the smaller decisions. The final decisions on whether to go to boarding school and which one to attend likely reside with you. However, you can and should involve your child in other decisions. For instance, if you get to request certain dorms, allow your child to tour them and pick his or her favorite. Involve your child in the process of choosing classes or signing up for sports teams and other activities. Go on a shopping trip and let them pick the bedding and other personal items for their room. Give them a stake in the process so they feel like it isn't being forced on them.
Give them their distance. There's no doubt that you will miss your child and he or she will miss you, especially in those first few weeks. It may be tempting to visit every weekend or call every night. However, it's also important that they develop some independence. If you are a constant presence, it may only reinforce their homesickness. And it may limit their ability to immerse themselves in the school culture and make new friends. Resist the urge to "hover," and give them enough space be independent.
Send a regular care package. Your child probably has favorite movies, books, magazines, and snacks. Send a regular care package with some of those items, perhaps on a monthly basis. It's a nice way to reinforce their bond with home while also not intruding on their space. Plus, it will give them something to look forward to and something to share with their new friends.
Communicate with them. When you bring up the idea of boarding school, your child's first instinct is likely to be that they're being punished or sent away. You don't want your child to leave home with those feelings. They could build up resentment towards you and they may resist new friendships at the school. Be sure to communicate with them as much as possible. Have two-way dialogue where they get plenty of time to express their feelings and concerns. Acknowledge their doubts, but also emphasize all of the benefits. Most of all, make sure they feel like they are being heard. Simply giving them room and time to vent can alleviate much of their resistance.
Also, reach out to boarding schools in your part of the country. They can give you tips on helping with the adjustment and help you find the perfect boarding school for your son or daughter.
For more information, contact a company like Admiral Farragut Academy.