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(42 Posts)
sloppyjoe Fri 29-Nov-13 22:42:53

So. We are about to sign up for full boarding (2015 entry).
I have 18months to get used to it, but what would your top tips be?
DS will be going at age 13, having never boarded before!!!

Kenlee Fri 29-Nov-13 23:32:20

My tip is to treat it as nornal. Once he is in always find ways to contact him. using whatsapp , Tango or SMS...just to say you love them and are proud of them.

The prep work for going in is easy...just follow the guide provided by the school. If you are not sure ring them. They are more than happy to help.

boschy Fri 29-Nov-13 23:55:51

does he want to board? why do you want him to board?

usualsuspect Fri 29-Nov-13 23:57:00

My top tip is don't do it.

happygardening Sat 30-Nov-13 00:00:10

I over heard DS2 who's full boarded since yr 2 and is now in yr 11 and who is apparently very popular with all, give the following advice to a child about to start boarding; don't try to hard be liked in fact it's better to watch and let others come to you, don't try and change your personality thinking this will make you more popular it won't just be yourself, never ever drop you mates in it to your HM when they do some trivial misdemeanour, don't get upset when someone teases you, laugh it off they will then get bored.
My advise to you as a parent don't think you can micro manage your DC's life when at boarding school you can't and will drive your DC HM matron and yourself up the wall trying, don't keep emailing, phoning your HM unless there is a serious problem, work on the basis no news is good news, if there is a serious problem at home e.g. a bereavement/divorce etc inform your HM immediately and if your worried your DC is unhappy, never go into a dorm, common room, bathroom etc unless your with your DC. It's not your home and you wouldn't want a stranger walking into your living room/sitting room etc. If your DC has any serious health issues, emotional problems etc don't try and tell the school on the first day they will not have enough time to listen and take on board what your saying as they will be busy settling other children in as well as yours. contact the relevant people; health centre, matron HM in advance of arriving to discuss it. Never monopolise your HM when you pick your DC up, remember there are usually 60 other children in the house and other parents may wish to speak briefly to him too, again if you have a serious problem make an appointment to see him. Don't forget to buy the HM and matron an Xmas present.
Look on it for what it is a positive life enhancing experience if you believe in it so will your DC.

happygardening Sat 30-Nov-13 00:02:31

"My top tip don't do it"
There speaks the voice of an expert with lots of experience of her DC's boarding in 2013!

usualsuspect Sat 30-Nov-13 00:08:44

No there speaks the voice of most of the population.

Not just the elite.

happygardening Sat 30-Nov-13 00:12:40

Usual I'm not sure the OP is interested in your chippy views on life she just wants her DC and herself to settle successfully into his next school.
I and my DS have never considered ourselves to be "the elite" by the way.

usualsuspect Sat 30-Nov-13 00:14:57

I will take my chippy veiws elsewhere then.

<doffs cap>

Kenlee Sat 30-Nov-13 03:31:24

Why is it there is always one...The thread clearly states boarding and yet someone who is so anti boarding presses on it to read it. Can this be that they secretly want their children to board but can not...

Im not sure but it really doesn't help OP...

peteneras Sat 30-Nov-13 04:31:10

I can’t afford it and I’m not an elite. So I must prevent others from doing it.

This is a classic kiasu mentality.

summerends Sat 30-Nov-13 07:59:00

Assume it is Radley then!
At 13 and onwards whether they are at day or boarding they are developing separate lives and need space. The transition into boarding makes the realisation of that more abrupt for the parent by the physical separation. I suppose be sensitive to the fact that your desire to see and speak to him needs to fit in with a life where they are totally immersed in activities and hanging out with their peers ( initially with the difficulties of finding their feet). Contact by text or phone may be limited to very few words at times but personally we find daily contact however brief works for us.
The transition coming home for exeats etc needs to take into account how tired (and hungry depending on the time of pick-up) they are.
Agree with all that Happy says including that the house is the boys' zone.
Don't forget that although the housemaster is important, there is a whole team of other teachers and staff involved in the house who may be even more influential on your DS.

scaevola Sat 30-Nov-13 08:05:59

We have no idea why OP and her DC have opted to board.

She isn't asking for a critique of her family's personal decisions, just advice from those who have relevant experience.

<fans flames: it's like someone, personal circumstances/health unknown, asking how to make up a bottle of FF safely and being told 'by not doing it at all'>

SthingMustBeScaringThemAway Sat 30-Nov-13 14:54:27

Your Ds will probably be fine.

How are you planning to fill your time so you don't spend 24 hrs a day resisting the urge to harass his HM?

In the coming months allow him lots of opportunities to have small adventures away from you. I'm sure he already has sleepovers; does his current school provide outward bound type activities? (Even if it's called a geography project...) If not you can probably find some.... its amazing how quickly they learn to pack their own stuff...

Be quite ruthless about gradually giving him more responsibility for organising himself. (That looks good on the screen - I know it's incredibly difficult in RL...)

Is there an activity he's looking forward to trying at his new school? Give him a head start - sailing; fencing; drama; whatever.

One thing - if he will be boarding more than an hour away be watchful that he consolidates his current friendships. He may start to feel "too big" for mere day boys - but he'll need them during the holidays.

If the new school is single sex try to maintain opportunities for him to spend time with girls as friends (he should be over the anti-girl phase by then anyway....)

Talk about something else occasionally! It's a long wait...

choirmum Sat 30-Nov-13 15:07:20

I'd second most of what happy says. Above all, be confident in the choice you've made. If you have doubts, you'll transfer them to your child. If you want to be aware of every last thing that your child does every day, boarding isn't for you. Don't make a big fuss about it in the coming months then it will become a normal transition. For the right child and family, boarding has many more positives than negatives. Good luck!

handcream Sat 30-Nov-13 18:10:20

There are some VERY unhelpful people who choose to throw around their views of boarding (usualsuspect!). The OP isnt at all interested in your view. They are looking for some tips.

I would agree with Happy.

Every email or text that comes from your DS respond to very quickly. No news is often good news - they are having such a good time they forget to call/contact you. For the right child boarding will be the making of them.

Just in case some might think that I think boarding is OK for all - I have a friend who is insisting on pushing her DS into boarding. He has tried it for a month and hated it. Yet she is continuing to push on...

sloppyjoe Sat 30-Nov-13 18:21:03

Thank you (mostly)all. Some good tips I'd not thought about here.
Ds is over the moon and hasn't stopped grinning since we got the news!!!
There is a long time to go of course before he starts, so I'm sure his excitement will settle down. It will be a big change for all of us, but a happy dc = happy parents. So we're happy too.
Of course, I could use this opportunity to justify why boarding will be right for ds, but to be honest I can't be bothered and it's no one else's business!!!

summerends Sat 30-Nov-13 18:35:24

Sloppy, if I am guessing right many congratulations to your DS for the Warden list place. He obviously feels it is the right place for him and therefore will positively embrace all the opportunities there which boarding allows.

sloppyjoe Sat 30-Nov-13 18:49:09

I am so proud of him. And pleased for him too. He has actually achieved more than 'just' a Wardens Place, but that is not for a public forum!!!!!

happygardening Sat 30-Nov-13 19:19:17

You will quickly judge how key your HM is. At my DS's school he is the most significant person but at other schools there are tutors etc who are equally important. But in the event of a personal problems at home e.g. divorce etc you must tell him at the very least he can diffuse the information to other relevant staff.

summerends Sat 30-Nov-13 19:47:09

cake with candles for him. Fantastic!

derektheladyhamster Sat 30-Nov-13 20:24:34

Make sure he can change his own bedding!

Berkeley2000 Thu 05-Dec-13 21:10:19

my son started at R this year, never boarded before and came from a state school. he has taken to it like a duck to water, embraced everything the school has to offer and made good friends. Your son will be ready too. Well done to him and good luck to you both, ignore all the comments, you know best what is right for your son, no one else.

Icancount Thu 05-Dec-13 23:38:25

Thanks Berkeley - that's really good to know.
I am a bit nervous socially, but it's great to hear your ds is doing well.
I am sure my ds will want to join in with as much as he can fit in! He is still so excited, and has started setting his alarm clock in the morning rather than rely on me waking him up in preparation!!!

MillyMollyMama Fri 06-Dec-13 00:03:38

My DD boarded from age 11 at her senior school and she was the only one from a state primary. If a child really wants to board, they will make the most of it. We were not allowed to be in touch every day! Settling in period equalled no phones, but each school is different. They will, however, want to try and avoid chronic homesickness! It is a whole new world and it will be great.

Label every belonging, be on time, go to events at school as much as you can, take plenty of clothes, (more than they suggest), do a residential holiday scheme next summer if he has never boarded.

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