Staying Connected and Homesickness
Angela Juurlink, School Counselor, & Sarah O'Neill, Director of Communications

As a new year, and a unique one at that, starts up again here at Tilton School, we are all searching for ways to stay connected. While your child is away from home for long stretches of time, they may experience homesickness. During this widespread experience of extreme caution due to COVID-19, these feelings may be amplified. This is completely normal and an opportunity to develop coping strategies to get through it. 

1. Consider offering empathy for your child while normalizing the experience; “Hey, we knew this could get hard; it’s a lot to adjust to” or “We hoped you might skip this feeling but it happens so often, it is so hard to avoid it”.

It helps, even with our adult children, to know that what they feel is very common but that doesn’t make it easy. We want to offer empathy while still showing a belief they can get through it, “Even though this is hard, you have the ability to get through hard things”. Feel free to remind them of other obstacles they have overcome in the past.

2. Contact with home can be helpful and it’s equally as important that your child works on their ability to try to connect with Tilton School life. In the past, parents have set limits for how often they’ll respond in a day or require their child to call them outside of their room “I am there for you and you need to push yourself too. Call me while you go for a walk around the campus and we’ll talk then”. 

3. It can help to bring a few items from home that are particularly meaningful to them. If they forgot, receiving a little care package can lift spirits on any day. There is a special smile we get to see on a student’s face who has just received a package from home.

4. In today’s day and age, there is a constant bombardment of social media posts that are polished and filtered, both literally and figuratively. It’s helpful for your child to remember this as there is a common tendency to assume everyone is having a better time. A question to ask might be “Hey, the next time you’re going through social media, just observe whether or not you feel uplifted afterward or more down and if that’s helpful for you”. 

5. Parents will often get the texts and calls when things feel quiet or when a child is having a down moment. We do not often get called during exciting and fun times. As a parent, know that there are likely really fun moments happening too- you just won’t be on their minds at that time. 

6. If there is anything we as a society have learned as of late, it is that there are ways to stay connected while being apart. In addition to regular Zoom and FaceTime sessions, Tilton School has many tactics in place to keep you up-to-date with what is happening on the Hill, and what your child is experiencing.

  • Advisor: Your child’s advisor is their go-to person. They will keep you updated on campus happenings, and are also a great contact when you’re itching for a certain photo opportunity of your Ram (Photo with the clocktower in the background? You got it.)
  • School Social Media: Tilton School social media accounts are another great way to keep track of the day-to-day. We use our accounts to offer a glimpse into daily life on the Hill. Follow us here:
  • Photos: We take lots of photos! From school events to outside on the quad and down time in the dorm, we strive to secure as many photographic memories as possible. We share these with you via our SmugMug account, and will send an update via the parent newsletter when a new album is added. 

As we move forward and onward into the 2020-2021 academic year, we strive to keep you in touch with your child while also exercising their independence. We hope these tips for homesickness and connectivity help with the process.

If you are worried about your child and feel what they are experiencing is more difficult than typical, please reach out to their advisors. The advisor is there to help you and your child get through challenging times. You can also reach out to the school counselor at ajuurlink@tiltonschool.org for additional support. 

 

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