Helping Your Child Adjust To A New School
Moving with kids can be a difficult experience. They are most likely not going to be too with happy with having to leave their old room, their friends, school, and even teachers. No one likes change and having to deal with so much all at once can be a bit overwhelming. It seems as starting out fresh in a new school can be one of the most terrifying aspects of the move for your kids. Here are some ways to help them adjust in the shortest period possible.
Talk About The New School
Bring up the topic, since chances are the kids may be feeling nervous and would rather avoid taking this step if possible. Be sure to do the following in order to help as much as possible:
- Listen to and talk about their fears—this should lessen their burden in many cases.
- Validate their feelings—there is no right and wrong here, so express empathy and maybe even give examples of when felt in a similar way.
- Point out times when they took unknown firsts—like their first day of kindergarten or summer camp.
- Encourage and provide assurance—that they will be able to get through this, just like every other new and scary experience.
Research The School Thoroughly
Of course, you have probably already gone through doing your initial research about the school. However, this involves digging a bit deeper. Visit their online site and take notes of interesting classes or activities your child might like. Find out about extracurricular activities and clubs or other classes that just weren’t available at their old school. Getting them excited can help to lessen their nervousness.
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Conduct A Practice Run
This might be a bit age dependent, but you could actually go through the motions of a regular school day. Walk to the bus stop, map out the route if they will be walking (maybe even walk it with them), or drive to the school to get them familiar with where you will drop them off (and also pick them up).
You may even be able to schedule a tour of the school. This way, they can see the classrooms, cafeteria, and any other places they might need to know about for their first day. They can also learn about the routine that would be followed for the first day. Knowing the layout here will make things seem much less threatening.
Have Play Dates
If your child is younger, having a play date with other kids their same age might be a good idea. If you already know who some of their classmates might be, see if you can contact and meet the parents. If the children become familiar with each other ahead of time, it can also help to lessen the tension during those first few days.
Just remember that even when you do everything right, there probably will be some regression and homesickness. Expect it and deal with it as it comes up.