For a child, going to a new school is exciting, challenging, and nerve-wracking all at the same time. While this is true for all children as they grow older and graduate into middle and high school, it’s especially trying if they switch school districts due to a family move. Since they won’t have their social support network, parents need to know how to help kids adjust. Here are practical tips to engage your child in a meaningful conversation and help them prepare for their new adventure.
Before Moving Day
Communication is Key
Even though the conversation might be challenging, starting the discussion about your move early is essential. Help your children understand that they will be attending a new school, with the opportunity to make new friends and have new experiences. If you want to help kids adjust to this change, you should first keep in mind that the process will take weeks or months for your children, so starting a dialogue with them ASAP will go a long way in creating a smooth transition.
Validation is Vital
You know that your child will make new connections and thrive in their new educational environment. However, they likely don’t realize that yet! Don’t downplay the stress. Instead, acknowledge their feelings and support them through the process of letting go of their old school. They’ll need room to grieve the loss of friends, teachers, and anticipated experiences at their current school district.
After the Move
Now that you’re settled and your move is complete, you can dive into your new community. First, take a tour of your child’s new school, giving them a chance to see their new surroundings without pressure or deadlines. If you have their school schedule, find their new classes and help them map their route from English to math to science, etc. Next, arrange meet-and-greets with your child’s new teachers and other families in the area. This way, they’ll have a few familiar faces on their first day of school, helping to ease their nerves.
Stable and Steady Routines
While school life might be very different now, home life can stay stable and steady for your child. Keeping many of your routines and habits from your old house in place can help create a sense of security for your child. For example, if you like to give your young child a bath and read books together every night, keep it up in your new home. When kids know they have a safe environment to fall back on, it will help them adjust.
Last, understand that your positivity goes a long way with your kids! Highlighting all the positives, exploring new opportunities, and showing excitement about your move will help your children feel similarly. Maybe their new school has a swimming pool or clubs that their previous one did not. If parents keep their minds open and positive, it will help kids adjust their mindsets.
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