Helping Your Child Adjust To A New School
Relocation is challenging, especially for kids. If switching schools is the case, this fact becomes more realistic. Since the newborn stage, parents are told to establish a predictable routine for their little ones to avoid stress and anxiety. Although, sometimes, this cannot be 100% fulfilled, especially when your kids become older. Nevertheless, we can ease the process for them. For example, we can give them a say in the school’s choice and make sure their emotional needs are met and supported along the way. We’ve curated a list of valuable tips for helping your child adjust to a new school.
Tips for easing the transition
The thought of having new teachers, classrooms, and friends is dispiriting, to say the least, 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 be okay in the end.
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 settle in. If you are only moving to a new district, you can hire local movers to ensure an easy transfer to a new neighborhood. On the other hand, if you are moving across the country, you will need to do some additional planning. Follow the advice below to make the transition as less stressful as possible for your child.
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 keep a positive attitude. This doesn’t mean you should ignore their negative feelings. What we mean by this is acknowledging their negative emotions; you can also emphasize exciting aspects and new opportunities that await.
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 some stability in this somewhat 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 teacher 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 control the situation.
Meet the teacher
You can do this step on your own and talk 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 advice on activities that your kid could 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 find out that another kid is new to the class. If you keep an open and friendly attitude, ask some parents if they are willing to come to a BBQ at your new place, which will be an excellent opportunity for your family to make new friends.
Stay in touch with previous classmates
As we’ve mentioned earlier, create a space where your child can interact with his old classmates and friends. If they were close, put some extra effort into scheduling some sleepovers or road trips 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 right away, so remember to stay calm and patient. You and your child will undoubtedly go through some rough times 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 making sure they are aware of numerous positives in the story. Be supportive and non-judgemental. Reassure them they are going to have a fantastic school year and that they 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 have a conversation with you about any worries they might have. Create a safe space for them, which home and family by definition are.
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. Due to the pandemic, schools are different today, 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 used to work in the traveling industry for 6 years, and now she works in the relocation industry. For the last 3 years, she has been specializing in helping people with their domestic and international relocation. She is also a full-time mom and a part-time blog writer. From her own experiences, she writes about traveling and moving with children on her blog.