Prepping for Prep School: A Parent’s Guide to Boarding School
September 12, 2018
The Boarding School Experience: Putting Your Child’s Needs First
While there may be no perfect handbook for parenthood itself, there is a parent’s guide to preparing to send your child to boarding school.
Whether traveling across the globe or crossing city or state lines, enrolling your child in boarding school may leave you feeling a bit uneasy. You may be wondering how your family will cope with being separated during this time. A successful transition into boarding school truly begins with the parent. Luckily, when taking the time to prepare yourself, you’ll also prepare your child.
While away at boarding school, your kids have the opportunity to expand not only their knowledge through academics, but also skills and experiences they may not have had otherwise. Still, your children must be in the right state of mind to take full advantage of all boarding and prep school has to offer. To ensure your student benefits from their overall experience, here are some steps to take.
Feeling at Home, Away from Home
Be sure you have an in-depth discussion with your child on what to expect. This is key to lessening the chances of separation anxiety once they’re at school.
An open line of communication is crucial to avoid disrupting your family dynamic and parent-to-child relationship. Assuring your son or daughter that you are never more than a phone call away will make all the difference in their experience. But when you are not on the other end of the phone, there are still plenty of ways to make the distance between you and your child seem much smaller.
When you drop your child off, be sure to bring photos to place around their room and other comforting pieces from home. Items such as blankets, a favorite book and other familiar mementos can provide comfort as well. It is imperative that students feel at home during their stay.
Sending a handwritten letter in the mail or an unexpected care package will also remind your child that they are always on your mind. When you’re feeling especially distant, send a text or make scheduled times to talk throughout the week to guide you both through this change. Looking forward to these specific times will help add structure and reassurance to your child’s day.
Lastly, make time for visits. Whether a surprise pop in, coming home for a holiday, family vacation or a planned weekend at home, you will cherish spending these moments together.
Now that you have established ways of staying in touch with your child, you must be sure to constantly communicate with the school’s faculty and dorm parents. Dorm parents are the adults whom you are entrusting with your children’s well-being and upbringing while living away from home. Most boarding schools’ dorm parents send out weekly or bi-weekly newsletters with information on activities, student spotlights and other general updates. Get to know the dorm parent(s) and keep their contact information close at all times.
You should also let the dorm parents and teachers know your student’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s also beneficial to tell them what you and your family are hoping to get out of the boarding school experience. A positive, open relationship between you and those who will be spending an extended amount of time with your child will certainly prove to be beneficial.
Additionally, it is a good idea to join or create a Facebook group of other parents and guardians with children attending the same school. This way, you’ll have a network of others who know what you and your family may be feeling while you’re separated.
At the end of the day, the payoff of having a highly personalized education for your child that focuses on academic and social progress will be worth it to help prepare them for their next step in life.
Explore our website to learn more about what Lake Mary Preparatory School has to offer for you and your student.