As parents, many of us have been scurrying around trying to prepare for the new school year. While I’ve read that some of you already have kids who have started the new school year, there are others that are in the final countdown for the big day. While Back to School is a hectic time, it gets that much more crazy when you add in going to a new school. My eight year old, who is beginning 3rd grade, is changing schools this year due to rezoning within the district. After going to her previous school for three years (Kindergarten through 2nd grade), she will be starting a new school. Yikes!
Since I’ve known since last winter that the change was coming, we have been working to prepare her for the change. And while I am very nervous about this whole new school thing, my daughter seems to be taking this in stride.
So I wanted to share with you my 6 Tips to Help Your Child Adjust to a New School, as I know this may be a situation many of us are experiencing:
1. Don’t Freak Out:
Our kids take cues from us, so when we freak out and show anxiety over an issue, then most likely, they will also follow suit. Be patient and show control over your emotions. Speak positively about the change and be open to listening to your child regarding their needs. Children overhear more than we think, so when discussing the change with your spouse, loved ones, or friends, keep a fresh and positive perspective. Do your research on the back-end and share what you’ve learned positively with your child. Make this new experience as smooth as it can be.
2. School Tour:
Take the opportunity to ask the school administrators if they can take your child on a tour. Your new school understands the challenges kids face when changing schools, so most likely, they have something set up for new students at their school. My daughter attended summer school at her new school, so she was able to get the feel of the school and its teachers. Knowing the lay of the land will help her a lot on her first day.
3. Open Discussion & Journal:
All summer, my daughter has been keeping a journal of her feelings of changing to a new school. Every time she had a feeling, good or bad, she would write it in her journal and would leave it on the kitchen table if she wanted me to read it. Understanding and knowing her thought process and feelings allows me to address any apprehension that she may have regarding this change, and addressing it head on hopefully will curtail any problems when it’s time for her to start.
4. Get Excited!:
Changing schools isn’t always a bad thing. It could be fun! My daughter is changing to a school that is highly accredited and is one of the top elementary schools in the state. So I’ve been making sure to share that with my eight year old so she knows that she will be in good hands. When we pass by the school, I always point it out and say, “that is going to be your new learning place in a few weeks!”. She gets excited too, which will hopefully help her transition to a new school.
5. Meet the Teacher:
Meeting your child’s teacher is important, even if your child isn’t starting a new school. If your school doesn’t have a special day in place for your child to meet their teacher, try to schedule it through the administrators. There’s a comforting feeling when a child is able to meet their teacher beforehand, and that is even more important when starting a new school.
6. Friendship Building:
Since my daughter will not only be starting a new school but meeting new friends, I’ve been working with her on her friendship building. We’ve been using her Build a Bear friends and acting out how to make friends by role playing. We’ve practiced how my daughter will introduce herself to her new classmates, which will hopefully help her do it in real life.
Starting a new school is a daunting task, but it’s not the end of the world. I hope these tips help you and your child with their new journey in their new school.
Do you have any tips to add for kids who are starting a new school? Please share!
Photo credit: The above picture was taken by me on my daughter’s first day of school last year and permission was granted to use on my site by the parents of the other children.