Transferring schools is a major event in a child’s life. This can be a stressful time for both parent and child, but there are ways to help make this difficult adjustment. Here are three different ways you can help your child adjust to a new school, and thrive just as much if not more than at their old school.
Communicate With Your Child
It is important to maintain a sense of security for your child. They will rely on you for support during these turbulent times. Making sure your child can talk to you comfortably about these changes is the first step towards a smooth transition, and will pave an easier future for communicating.
Your child will be looking to you first for the answers to the questions they may have about their new school. It’s important to research ahead of time so you can adequately describe to your child what their school will be like. Help them try to visualize these changes by showing them maps and pictures of the school, or even better: take them to visit the school before class begins!
You should explain the differences between their old school and their new one. This includes how long the school day lasts, difference in course schedules, or what the lunch time routine is.
After your child begins their new curriculum, don’t forget to foster this open communication! Make sure to ask them how their day went when they come home, about their new teachers & classmates, and find out if they have any problems at school. This will help keep you informed as well with how the school is going.
Keep The Old Routine
Changing schools is already a dramatic shift in your child’s life. They’ll have to adapt to a new surrounding, people, and standards for their education. This can all be overwhelming for them, so holding onto any old routines can bring back some stability.
Try to keep your child on the same schedule they followed at their old school. Wake them up at the same time, feed them the same food (maybe something special on the first day), and put them to bed just as you did before. If your child took the bus to their old school, it might be a good idea to drive them yourself at first to help with their nerves, but it may be beneficial to let them ride the bus for the familiarity it gives.
To really remind your child that their life hasn’t completely changed, you can give them the same stationary or pack a favorite toy of theirs with them. Having a solid object they are familiar with is a concrete reminder that not everything is different.
Your child doesn’t need to feel like an outcast at their new school. Help them find their place by encouraging involvement with school life, or get involved yourself. Attend parent-teacher conferences to get to know their teachers and their teaching methods. Take it a step further and attend meetings to immerse yourself in the school life with other parents.
Gently push your child to join extracurricular activities. If they have any special interests, including sports and music, encourage them to join a club or sports team. They can make new friends in these environments while continuing to do what they love.
Building social networks at school can also help your child in adjusting. If you notice your child has made a new friend, offer to set up a play-date. At any parent-teacher conferences, try to see if they get along with any classmates and make friends with their parents. Having a good friend may be all that your child needs to adjust, so foster that opportunity.
Being a strong, well-informed guardian for your child will help them in transitioning to a new school. Make sure they feel comfortable communicating with you, retain some familiarity in their day to day life, and encourage involvement in after school activities to help them feel right at home!