Moving into a new home can be a very exciting experience. But if you have kids and you’re moving more than a few neighborhoods away, chances are they’ll be going to a different school. This means learning new routines, getting to know new teachers and, most importantly, making new friends.
Changing schools can be a difficult transition for some kids to make, especially as they head into their teen years. Here’s what you need to know to help make that switch as easy as possible for them.
Involve your child
Before you move, involve your child in the process as much as you can. Let them have a say in where they would like to live and what school they would like to attend. If that school isn’t a possibility for your family, be frank about it and depending on your child’s age, let them know why. Be enthusiastic about the move and talk with them about all the positive things that can happen as a result. Listen to your child’s worries and discuss them.
Tour the school
If possible, arrange for you and your child to have a tour of the new school before classes start. First days are always tough; first days where you are totally unfamiliar with your new surroundings are even tougher. Walk through their schedule with them, make sure they know where their locker and bathrooms are, and let them ask any questions they have.
Find opportunities to meet people
Once you’ve moved in, look for opportunities to meet your new neighbors, especially if any of them have children that are around the same age. Knowing a familiar face or two in a sea of strangers will help calm your child’s nerves on the first day. If you move over the summer or a school holiday, see if there are any classes, workshops or organizations your child can join to help make some friends before they start at their new school. Once school starts, encourage your child to sign up for after school activities and clubs. It’s easier for some kids to make friends in smaller groups than it is in a large classroom of 30 or more.
Establish a routine
Most kids feel more stable if they have a routine they can count on. Take the same route to school every day and stick to a schedule at home. The sudden upheaval of moving can be disorienting, so try to establish a new routine as quickly as possible.
It could take a few weeks for your child to feel comfortable in their new school, and their grades could drop while they’re settling in. Don’t fret too much about it. If the problem persists after more than a couple of months, seek advice from teachers and the school counselor.
While helping your child settle into a new school can be stressful, it’s important to maintain perspective and be encouraging. Your child will most likely follow your lead, so if you remain positive and look for the good in each situation, your child will eventually follow suit. Play dates and sleepovers with your child’s new friends will be just around the corner!
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