House to home

5 Ways to Help Your Child Adjust to a New School

The Ultimate Moving Checklist

As adults, we have a lot of logistics to plan for when moving to a new home. We have to hire the movers, schedule furniture delivery, arrange for cable installation, and innumerable other tasks. But for a child, there’s just one big task: Prepare for your new school.

Switching schools can be a difficult time for a child. They’ve made friends at their old school, they know all their teachers, they know the bus schedule and they have their routine. It’s a big deal, especially for older children, to start a new routine when they’re so used to the old one. And as parents, it’s our job to help them adjust to a new school as best we can. Here are five ways you can do just that.

1. Plan to move during summer break.

One of the best things you can do to help ease your child into a school transition is to plan your move during the summer break. This will allow them plenty of time to get settled into their new home and their new neighborhood before introducing them right away to a new school, as well. Being able to start at their new school on the first day of the year will also prevent them from having to play “catch-up” in their classes.

And depending on the exact date of your move, there may be an opportunity to sign your child up for summer camps in their new hometown. This is a great opportunity for them to meet other kids in their area with similar interests, and hopefully make new friends. Here are some recommendations for Maryland and Delaware.

Related: 4 Ways to Keep the Kids Busy at Home this Summer!

2. Prepare for their first day.

Starting at a new school can be scary, and our goal as parents is to help make them feel as comfortable as possible in this situation. One way to take away the fear of the unknown is to take a tour of the school with them beforehand. Make sure they know the layout of the hallways, where the cafeteria and gymnasium are, where the main office is, etc. If they know their class assignments or homeroom, then make sure to point these out, too. And while you’re on site, ask the staff in the office if it’s possible for your child to meet the principal or any of their teachers ahead of time.

3. Enroll them in extra-curricular activities.

Once the school year is in session, your child is bound to receive information about after-school clubs, sports team tryouts, and other extra-curricular groups. If your child participated in any of these at their previous school, encourage them to join the same club at their new school. It will only make their school transition more difficult if they’re not taking part in an activity that made them happy, such as the dance team, debate club, marching band, theater group or the basketball team. If there isn’t a specific extra-curricular offered through the school, then look to your local rec center or research children’s groups in your area.

Related: 5 Ways to Reduce Your Family’s School-Morning Madness

4. Reach out to their teacher.

Don’t wait until parent-teacher conference time to ask about how your child is adjusting to their new school. Touch base with your child’s teacher (or teachers) early in the year to make sure they’re aware that you recently moved to the area, and that you’d like to make sure your child is participating in class and socializing with their peers.

Most teachers will understand your concerns and work with you to give updates on how they’re progressing. If there is a concern raised, be sure to ask how you can support their improvement at home.

Related: Back to School Tips for Parents

5. Let them know you’re here to listen.

The most important thing you can do to help your child transition smoothly to a new school is to listen. If they’re having an easier time than they thought they would, celebrate that! Maybe tell them to invite their new friends over to hang out.

If they’re not transitioning well, ask them to tell you how they’re feeling. Do they miss their old friends? Do they not like their new teacher? Listen to what they say and ask how you can make things easier for them. Even a small change can have a big impact on their mood and help them adjust to their new school.

Anna Young

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