Children typically thrive in stable environments, so it makes sense that kids may experience stress when relocating to another school. Whether your child is advancing from elementary school to middle school, or transferring to a school in another town or state, you can help put his or her mind at ease with these tips:
Before Leaving an Old School…
Leaving a school can be especially difficult for elementary-aged and high school students. If your child has spent many years in a particular school and will be advancing with his or her class to another school, help your child take comfort in knowing that familiar faces will be at the new school. If your child is moving to a different school district arrange for an advance visit to the new school so that your child will feel somewhat familiar with the new surroundings when school starts. Knowing what to expect can alleviate some of your child’s nervousness and make the transition easier.
Upon arriving at a New School…
The presence of a parent or grandparent can be reassuring to a young child who’s going to a new school for the first time. Depending on your child’s age, consider accompanying him or her to the school on the first day of class especially if the move occurs in the middle of a school year. You could walk your child to class, meet teachers, and introduce your child to the principal. This not only can help your child adjust to a new school but also can help existing students and staff to befriend your child early on.
Tips for a Smooth Transition
Keep in mind that your child’s new teacher will understand the needs of a new student and is likely to help him or her feel more relaxed in the classroom. If you are concerned about your child’s adjustment to a new school, schedule periodic teacher-parent conferences for further discussion with your child’s instructors.
Also, you may be able to take some steps at home to help your child adapt at school. KidsHealth.org recommends unpacking your child’s room before any other room in the house to encourage familiarity and faster adjustment to a new living space. Sign your child up for some after-school activities to help him or her make new friends. Importantly, be sure to talk with your child about his or her feelings about being in a new school.