Preparing for your child’s first time away from home

At some point there will come a time when your child isn’t at home and is away from you. Either because they are at a sleepover, on a school trip, on holiday with the family or even away for a longer length of time at boarding school.

Rossall – a UK boarding school give their top tips to help your child stave off homesickness.

Reassurance

Children often feel uncomfortable in new or unusual situations, sometimes excitement can carry them through this, such as being on holiday, but when it’s quieter they might start thinking about the comforts of home.

It’s important to reassure a child that even if they are somewhere different they aren’t far away from you and vice versa. This helps them to feel less isolated and alone, at least until (especially at boarding school) they get settled in and make friends.

Routine

Keeping up aspects of a routine from home can really help to avoid feeling homesick, as you limit the feelings of change. A morning and bedtime routine, that can easily be translated from one location to another can help keep your kids retain a sense of familiarity that helps them to get settled into new surroundings quickly.

Packing

Whenever your child is going anywhere there will be specific items they want to take with them. Blankets, toys and games to name but a few. These can help them feel comfortable and around something familiar.

This can help them to stave off homesickness, however it is also important to ensure you don’t just essentially move everything your child associates with home to a new place.

Find a balance, for example, if your child is going to boarding school, when they pack have them take a few keepsakes but leave the others at home as something to come back to. That way they don’t feel completely disconnected from home when they come back.

Contact

Another key way to help is the amount of contact you have. Sometimes the temptation is to almost be in constant contact. However, without this being face to face it can make kids want to see you properly, which if they are away for several days at a time can cause issues.

Having regular contact times, specific days that you will call for example helps establish a routine and provide something to look forward to which can distract from any feelings of homesickness.

With the right routine in place, and a few sensible reminders of home to help reduce feelings of unease children should be able to settle into a new environment quickly.

Making sure they know you aren’t far away can help ease those feelings of discomfort and help children to settle into a new environment quickly. The sooner they get settled in the better as this means they can start exploring, making friends and enjoying themselves.

This is a guest post.

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