Starting a new school at any age can be scary and overwhelming. Whether your child is in elementary school or you have a high school student, switching schools and curriculums isn’t something you want to put your child through, but sometimes you don’t have a choice.
You may be moving to a better school district and neighborhood, moving to be closer to family or maybe you are running away from a bully – either way you, as the parent, know that this move is in the best interest of the child. The child may disagree and be very angry with you for taking them out of their comfort zone and for making them leave their friends, which is why we put together a list of things you can do to help your child adjust:
1. Spend time at the school.
If you know that you will be moving in the next few months, then go to the school and get familiar with the building and the area. For younger children spend an afternoon playing on the playground and for teens take them to a chorus concert or sports game. Most schools have a lot going on during the school year which is a great time to engage your child with the school and get them excited about this new chapter!
2. Talk up the school.
Tell your child about the great features of the school. If your child plays a sport, tell them how good the team is that they would be joining – try to introduce them to the coach as well. For the younger kids, tell them about the exciting new playground or the fun new gym that they will get to play in.
3. Find someone that goes to the school.
Do some research and figure out if an acquaintance or an old friend of your child’s goes to that school, which will give your child a small sense of comfort because at least they know one person when walking into the lunch room or going out on the playground.
4. Sign-up for sports and programs in the new township.
If your child is going to be starting school in the winter, then sign them up for fall ball and hopefully they will have someone on their team that goes to the school. Or if you are starting in the fall, then sign up at a local pool and go over the summer and try to find new friends that will go to their new school.
5. Spend time in the new town.
Go for a bike ride on the path that your new house sits on, go out to dinner on the main street of your town and take a walk down the main street. For the younger kids you could do a ‘park hop’ through town trying out all of the new playgrounds and for the teens, go to the local ice cream shop or retail store where teens may work and get the scoop on what goes on during the weekends. But for the parents of teens be careful not to embarrass them (you know how it is with teens) – that is the last thing they need! Moving and starting at a new school is scary but exciting at the same time, so as a parent do your best to focus on the exciting part. Also, allow your child to tell you their fears so you can help them work through them. And don’t worry, you know what is best for your child- it will all work out!