Boarding school can be a fantastic opportunity for children to experience a unique education environment that is both personally challenging and academically stimulating. At Nord Anglia Education, our boarding schools provide your child with many opportunities to develop their interpersonal skills while priming them for the challenges of adulthood.
As your child’s first day at boarding school approaches, there is much preparation to be done. Aside from packing the right clothes and personal items, there are other things you can do to ensure they quickly settle in to boarding school life. Here are some tops tips to help your child prepare for boarding school and settle in once they’ve arrived.
Boarding school is a big change to the lives of both you and your child, and it might lead to some doubts before they leave. It’s absolutely normal for your child to have feelings of anxiety about what lies ahead. It’s important you talk these through with your child so you can help reassure them before they arrive.
At Nord Anglia Education, our boarding schools are designed to be incredibly welcoming places. They allow children to quickly make friends, and staff are on hand who know how to help if extra encouragement is needed. Talk these points through, putting any doubts in your child’s mind to rest.
When discussing the move to boarding school, remember that it will most likely be an enriching environment that will see your child flourish. Acknowledge any apprehensions that exists in your child’s mind and try to make positives out of them. Once they’ve settled in and made new friends, and you can see they’re benefitting from the experience, any scepticism will soon be forgotten.
Whenever possible. make sure you display what an exciting time your child’s new adventure is going to be. Reinforce the positive aspects of boarding school life, allowing them to head off with the best possible mindset.
There are many social and independence-based skills that are developed by boarding schools. To help your child adapt and become more independent, you can begin to build the relevant skills long before they move in.
Introduce some basic daily tasks that can foster greater independence. Make it as relevant as possible by mirroring what they will need to do once they start boarding school. They may have never needed to complete simple tasks like making their bed and getting ready for school on their own. Get them into a routine before they leave so they’re able to use these new skills at boarding school.
In the weeks before your child’s first day, a scheduled boarding school campus visit is a must. This will provide your child with the chance to become accustomed to their new environment with a familiar face by their side. Be sure to familiarise your child with every aspect of their new environment. Explore the dorms and facilities and introduce yourself to as many parents, children and teachers as you can.
Suddenly when it comes to the first day, boarding school won’t seem as scary. Your child will already have children to look out for and will be able to draw on their knowledge of the layout of the campus.
No matter how well prepared you are, there’s still a chance your child may suffer from a bout of homesickness when they’re longing for the familiar comforts of home. If this does occur, be there to offer reassurance that this a normal emotion to have.
Give them ideas to help deal with homesickness if they have these feelings again. For example, pack two or three special items from home that bring them comfort. Remind them that you’re on the other end of a phone call or Skype whenever they need you.
With your child’s excitement building for the big move, packing can become one of the most enjoyable parts of preparing for boarding school. Each child and school will have their own needs, but there are several things every child should have to aid their integration into boarding school. If you’re in any doubt about what to include when packing, get in touch with the school and ask if there is anything in particular your child will need.
Grab a pen and paper and jot down each one of the following for your shopping list:
1. Clothes and Hangers
It may seem obvious, but there are some things to consider when it comes to packing up your child’s wardrobe. Depending on the upcoming season, pack appropriate clothing to match all potential weather conditions. If you’re not able to travel to and from the school that often, plan ahead and prepare for all eventualities.
Don’t forget to include your child’s uniform. Get in touch with the school to make sure you’ve purchased the right shirts, blazers, and trousers. If they’re into sports, pack the clothing and equipment they need to participate.
To stop your child’s clothes from ending up in heap on the floor, provide them with plenty of clothes hangers.
2. Bedding and Laundry
Beds and mattresses will be included in your child’s room, but they may need to come with their own bedding.
On your list, add two sets of sheets (one for the bed and one for laundry), a comforter and pillows. Again, consider the climate your child will live in and potential changes to the weather. If it’s going to get cold, pack an extra blanket to keep your child cosy at night.
For laundry days, things like a bag, detergent, and clothes rack for drying are all essential. (plus a reminder list of washing machine instructions from mum or dad). Some or all of the above may already be provided. Be sure to check in with the school beforehand so you only purchase what your child will need.
3. Toiletries and Hygiene
Toiletries might be quite low on your child’s list of priorities, so it’s up to you to make sure they have everything they need to stay clean. Pack up all the bathroom essentials: toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, and hair products are all a good place to start.
Towels and washcloths are also essential. Like bedding, it’s wise to pack at least two to allow for laundry rotation. If it’s summer or your child will be living in a warm climate, give them the protection they need with bottles of sun lotion and a baseball cap.
4. Personal Touches
Many of the things you’ll pack are practical everyday items we need to go about daily life – but be sure to leave room for items that fulfil a different need. Your child’s room is vital to making them feel like boarding school is home. You can help foster this by packing personal items that are meaningful to your child.
Inject some character into your child’s room with trophies, books, or mementos that are unique to your child. If it’s posters or pictures, bring some picture-hanging strips in case the school doesn’t allow you to put nails in the wall.
5. School and Stationery Supplies
To help your child get the most out of their time in the classroom, they’ll need a range of stationery and school supplies. Choose a backpack big enough to hold all your child’s books and required tech devices, and pack it with pens, pencils, highlighters and a planner.
Speaking of technology, they may already own a laptop or tablet that can help them with their schoolwork. Couple it with a USB drive for storing files on the move.
6. Alarm Clock
One final, vital piece of equipment. Your child’s new routine will require discipline – starting with rising out of bed without your help. With an alarm clock, there’s no excuse if they aren’t up and out of bed in time for class!
Like every educational establishment, boarding schools have evolved over the years. Today, you’ll find boarding schools are close-knit communities, full of fun, engaging activities that explore new cultures and encourage discovery.
Boarding schools work hard to create an environment that feels like a living, breathing town of which your child will be a part of. Dorms will feature other members of your community, helping them to forge friendships, develop social skills, and build camaraderie with people they are sharing an experience with.
Their dorm will be situated close to campus as well as local amenities such as cafes and supermarkets – bringing a sense of independence that will be vital in the transition to adulthood.
Today’s boarding schools also place a heavy focus on the well-being of each student, acknowledging the importance of good mental health to education. Support is readily available in dorms, as dedicated workers (often named Dorm Parents) are tasked with cultivating a positive culture within dorms.
Boarding school is an excellent way to enhance your child’s academic, social, and independence skills. At Nord Anglia Education, we operate some of the finest boarding schools in the world.
Explore our Boarding Opportunities page to find boarding options in a location near you.