When you and your family prepare to move, you know you’ll need to learn about a new neighborhood, and for children, learning how to navigate a new school is part of this fresh chapter. To make the adjustment as smooth as possible, here are some of our recommendations for making the switch to a new school seamless for your child.
- Help your child to focus on the positives: It’s easy for children to become overwhelmed when adjusting to a new school, which includes learning how to navigate a new building, meeting new teachers and classmates, and having a new daily routine. To reduce anxiety, offer encouragement by reminding them that they will not be the only new student, and that school will be a place to meet new friends and create fun memories. Keep the conversation ongoing so that your child/children can openly discuss any hopes or fears they have for their school year.
- Encourage involvement in after-school activities: To stay busy and engaged with their new community, ask your child/children if they would like to get involved with an after-school activity. Joining a club or sports team can offer a creative outlet to explore new hobbies, meet friends and learn more about their new community.
- Visit the school prior to their first day: Many times, fear and anxiety can stem from the unknown, so taking your child/children for a “trial run” of their new school routine can ease the burden. You can visit the school building for a tour of the classroom, restrooms and cafeteria, and meet some of the staff. Another smart idea would be to figure out what transportation to and from school might look like if you’re not driving, which might mean a visit to the bus stop or mapping out a walking route.
- Ensure sure your child has all the school supplies they need to succeed: Check with your child’s new teacher before school starts to see what types of school supplies they might need. Besides the standard supplies you’ll expect to need (like pencils and folders) there might be additional supplies your child needs to succeed in their classes. Feeling prepared and at the same pace as other students will make sure your child/children has a smooth adjustment.
- Make an extra effort for the first day: The night before your child’s first day at their new school, go the extra mile so that everyone has an easy morning. This means making sure their backpack is packed, clothes are laid out, breakfast is prepared and any other logistical items are in order so that your child isn’t rushing around in the morning.
We wish you and your family the best of luck both during the moving process and as you adjust to your new routine!