Tips on Helping Your Child Adjust to a New School
Relocating can be quite a challenge, especially when it comes to kids, and the prospect of changing schools adds an extra layer of complexity. From the early days of parenting, we’re advised to establish a consistent routine for our little ones to minimize stress and anxiety. However, as kids grow older, maintaining that predictability can become more challenging. Despite this, there are steps we can take to make the transition smoother for them. For instance, involving them in the school selection process and ensuring their emotional well-being is a top priority. In this article, we’ve compiled a valuable set of tips on helping your child adjust to a new school.
Tips for easing the transition
The thought of having new teachers, classrooms, and friends is dispiriting, even to the most outgoing kids. As parents, it’s our job to do some purposeful planning to ensure they know all of their feelings are normal and that everything will work out.
Whether you are experiencing a job-related relocation to a new school district or you’ve chosen to live elsewhere, it is almost certain that your kid will switch schools at some point. As a result, you will have to take care of many things, starting from packing and moving to settling in. Follow the advice below to make the transition as less stressful as possible for your child while they adjust to a new school.
Invest time in conversation
Make sure you talk to your child about the change in advance. By doing so, you are giving them (and yourself) time to process the information and think about the next steps. It’s essential to keep the conversation honest and to be open to any questions they might have. Some of them could be: Will I be able to see my old friends or stay in touch with them? How do I know they won’t forget me? Your job is to be a good listener, offer support and compassion, give advice and solutions where applicable. In this case, you can set up a group chat with their closest friends, so that they can stay in touch.
Have a confident and positive attitude
Children quickly pick up on our attitudes and perceptions; it’s like they perceive the world through our eyes. So, if you want to prepare your kid for a new school, make sure you maintain a positive attitude! This doesn’t mean you should ignore their negative feelings. By acknowledging their negative emotions; you can also emphasize exciting aspects and the new opportunities that await. Read on for more tips on helping your child adjust to a new school.
Get them involved
Adults fear not having things under control. The same goes for kids. If you are keen on helping your child adjust to a new school, make sure you give them some control over it. Before the move, you can look through schools in the new neighborhood and help them pick the one they would like to attend or give them a chance to choose their classes or extracurricular activities. Doing so will make them feel valued and heard, which will add a sense of stability in this unpredictable process.
Check the school before the 1st day
Going for a sneak peek at the school should help the adaptation process. For example, you can walk around together, meet the teachers and the principal, and check out the cafeteria. This way, your child will know what to expect on the first day of school, which helps them feel more in control of the situation.
Meet the teacher
You can do this step on your own, by talking to the teacher and the principal in advance. You can get them informed on your situation and help them come up with a way to introduce your child to the rest of the class and even give you some insight on activities that your kid may be interested in. Also, they will check on your child throughout the day to make sure they are doing okay and offer guidance if needed.
Create a new routine beforehand
To avoid the morning rush, try preparing the essentials the night before, such as lunch boxes and outfits. Then, go through your weekly plan with your kids in advance, so everyone knows what to expect. Once you have a routine set up, things will go smoother. Also, if you had any traditions in your school day routine, try to keep as many as you can when you switch schools. This way, the transition will not seem so drastic.
Talk to fellow parents and organize a playdate if you have a young child
You can join a Parent Teacher Association and meet the parents of your child’s future classmates. It is always helpful to meet someone your child will probably become friends with and share experiences with. You might even meet someone who has been in your shoes or discover another kid is new to the class. You can extend an open and friendly attitude by asking some parents if they are willing to come to a BBQ at your new place, which will be an excellent opportunity for your entire family to make new friends.
Stay in touch with previous classmates
As mentioned earlier, create a space where your child can interact with their old classmates and friends. If they were close, put some extra effort into scheduling sleepovers, road trips, or playdates together in the near future.
Remember to be patient and have realistic expectations
Even the kids known as social butterflies won’t adapt to a new school immediately, so remember to stay calm and patient. You and your child will undoubtedly go through some discomfort and experience negative emotions. It’s important to acknowledge and validate all their feelings and let them know it’s okay to feel that way while ensuring they’re reminded of the numerous positives in the story. Be supportive and non-judgemental. Reassure them that they will have a fantastic school year and will blend in easily in no time.
Have quality family time
Making family time a priority will give your kids all the support and love they need. Enjoy all the traditions you had at your old place and have transferred to your new home, and be open to creating some brand new ones. Encourage your kids to talk with you about any worries they might have. Create a safe space for them by listening.
Final thoughts on tips for helping your child adjust to a new school
Even though moving to a new place and adapting to a new environment can be overwhelming, keep these tips in mind to help relieve some of the stress.
Another thing worth remembering is to allow your kids time to play. The post-pandemic world may seem a little different, but nothing has changed a child’s natural desire to play and be active. Make sure you allow them to spend enough time outside, by which you will ensure they stay healthy, familiarize themselves with their new neighborhood, and make friends. Finally, this will make them more relaxed at bedtime and allow them a good night’s sleep. A well-rested child is more focused and open to new experiences, which is another way you’ve succeeded in helping your child adjust to a new school.
Author Bio: Angie Sims
Angie Sims spent six years in the travel industry before transitioning into the relocation sector. Over the past three years, she has focused on assisting individuals with both domestic and international relocation needs. In addition to her professional roles, Angie is a dedicated full-time mom and a part-time blogger. Drawing from her personal experiences, she shares valuable insights on traveling and relocating with children through her blog.
Updated: September 19, 2023