We have all experienced a form of homesickness at some stage. But how can we help prepare our sons to face these moments in stride, during the pivotal moments in his time at boarding school?
Homesickness is a form of anxiety or distress that arises when we feel detached and disconnected from our surroundings. It’s also a normal and natural experience. It’s the teething pains of opportunity meeting adventure – especially for boys just starting their boarding journey. However, boys who are feeling homesick can spiral into depression and isolation if they don’t address the causes. The last thing we want is for boarding to be a traumatic experience, instead of one that supports them to grow and adapt.
Read on to learn how to support kids dealing with homesickness.
Six ways to help your son deal with homesickness
- Encourage him to explore his new environment independently. Try not to call him constantly to make sure he is ‘okay’.
- Do some research on the area where he is boarding. Look for activities on offer as this allows him to engage in social experiences.
- Pack some of his homely comforts. Include items such as special blankets or photos that will remind him of home.
- Talk to him about some of the challenges that he may face while he is away. Help him to understand that while it will be challenging, boarding is also an exciting time. He will experience new opportunities and make new friends.
- Encourage him to keep a journal. This can help him to objectively document the good and the challenging moments during his time away. It’s also a great way to reflect on what he has learned.
- Establish a point of contact at the boarding college. Find the adult that they can go to when they have issues and find out what the pastocal care program offers.
When your son experiences homesickness, it’s important to go over the specific reasons that cause it. Identifying the causes is the best way to help him grow and overcome some of his insecurities and anxiety. It’s also important to remind your son that he can come home if he ever feels like things are getting too overwhelming. This will take the pressure off him to try and work things out by himself and will remind him that he is free to make up his own mind about his experiences.
To learn how Scots supports students to build their character and sense of adventure, download The Scots College Glengarry brochure.