Fall brings with it many great things: cooler weather, colorful leaves, a nd the start of a new school year. If you have something else to look forward to this fall—moving to a new home—heading back to school can be especially stressful for kids of any age, particularly if your moving day falls just after the new school year starts. How can you minimize the impact that moving will have on your children’s school year? Here are 8 of our best tips:
1. Figure out how far you’ll be from your child’s current school.
If you're moving across town and won't be too far from your kids' current school, you might be able to drive your child to school for rest of the year. Before you tell your kids you can, speak with school administrators to find out if this is an option. Some school districts might place a one year limit on long-distance commuting; however, giving your child the year to come to terms with changing schools is better than forcing a change in a shorter timeline than they can handle. If you need to go out of your way to make your child more comfortable, it’s worth it.
2. Schedule a visit at their new school.
If keeping your child in their current school isn’t an option, find out which school they will be starting in immediately and schedule a visit. Don’t waste time—kids are already in their new schools and beginning to meet friends, figure out where they are sitting at lunch, and who they are hanging out with on the playground. Knowing where everything is can help your kids find their way and settle in quicker.
3. Seek out activities your kids already like.
If your kids play a sport or are a member of a club at their current school, find out if their new school has a similar team or club for them to join. This can help them make friends, and help them settle back into their regular routine after you move.
4. Start as soon as possible.
If you're moving within the same city but your moving date falls a few days or weeks after school starts, contact your new school to find out if your kids can start before you move. It will be easier for them to settle in after the move if they are already familiar with their new school and have started to make friends.
5. Get organized.
Make sure your kids have everything they need to start at their new school, and that everything is organized, packed, and ready to go on their first day. This can make getting ready smoother, and help them feel prepared to tackle the challenge of their first day.
6. Stick to your routine.
Try to maintain your normal first-day-of-school routine as much as possible, and settle back into your regular daily routine in as quick as you can after your move. If you cook a special breakfast on the first day, or you always treat your kids to a new outfit, maintaining these traditions can help create a sense of normalcy and give them something to be excited about.
7. Be a good example.
Early childhood education experts agree that children, particularly young children, experience moving as a loss. Maintaining a positive outlook will help your kids embrace the change, and ideally adopt the same mindset. If you’re nervous for your children, try not to let them see or feel that – it will make them feel even more anxious. Set a good example by showing them how excited you are about all the new opportunities they can take advantage of at their new school.
8. Reassure your kids.
It's normal for your kids to feel sad, angry, or anxious about the move and their new school. Talk to them about their concerns, reassure them that their feelings are normal and that they will make new friends, and encourage them to be themselves and to get involved with activities in your new neighborhood. It can also help to explain to them that you feel sad sometimes too, and share your methods for dealing with negative feelings in a constructive manner.
Moving during the beginning of the school year can be hard on your family. As a parent, you might feel like you’re hurting your child by uprooting them at this time of the year, but remember—you aren’t doing this on purpose, and you've done everything you can to make this transition as easy as possible. Your child will adjust and make new friends, even if it takes a few weeks.