If you are relocating this semester, you can help your children to settle into a new home and school. Moving is a traumatic experience as children have to get accustomed to a different home, a strange town and new friends. They may also be missing old friends and familiar places. There are some ways you can make the transition to a new school seamless. The most important approach is to understand and acknowledge their fears and anxieties and address as many as you can.
Contact your new school and ask for a tour. If you can get a copy of your child’s schedule, you can trace their daily route from home to school and then around school to all their classes. Knowing where they need to go will help to reduce anxiety. If there are summer holiday activities where your child could meet prospective new school mates, then get details from the school office.
Ask your new school about the buddy system. Many schools assign ‘buddies’ to new students who help them to settle in and find their way around.
Know your new school
Look online and ask the school for brochures or information on activities and clubs. Knowing all the fun things they can do may help kids to foster a positive image of their new school. Getting involved in activities, sports and clubs from day one is a great way for your kids to make new friends.
The website can also provide information about dress codes, teachers, school rules and supplies needed so your child can be prepared.
Talk it out
Ask your child what they are most afraid of or what they worry about when they think about their new school. For example, if they are concerned about getting lost on their bike ride or walk to school, offer to drop them off for the first week or take the route together a couple of times before school starts so that they feel confident. Getting them to talk about possible problems and helping to address their concerns will alleviate anxiety.
No one knows your child like you and so you are able to pre-empt any possible issues. For example, shop for and plan clothing choices for the first week. Make sure that they have their back-to-school supplies, get them back into a routine so that they aren’t late on their first day and make sure that they have all your contact details at the new school.
It’s a celebration!
Give them something to look forward to for their first week at school. Celebrate their first day with a cupcake party or take them somewhere special on the weekend after their first week. Having something positive to focus on will help to motivate them.