Moving is a big change that has a ripple effect, bringing on many other changes. If you have children, going to a new school is one of those changes. It can be a stressful time depending on how your child feels about the move. In some cases, adjusting to a new school can cause a lot of stress and anxiety.
Below are some tips on how you can help your child adjust to a new school and reduce the anxiety they are feeling around the experience.
Tips for Helping Children Adjust to a New School
Take a tour of the new school
There will be a lot going on the first day of school, so a great way to make your child feel more comfortable is to take a tour of the new school ahead of time. Any school is happy to take you and your child on a tour to show you the classrooms and activities, introduce you to the staff, and answer any questions either of you has.
It’s also a chance for your child to get used to the layout of the school. Not knowing where you’re going is overwhelming, so ask for a map of the school and help your child get their bearings during the tour. That way, they’ll know exactly how to get to all of their classes and other important places like the office, clinic, cafeteria, and gymnasium.
Make sure they know the route to and from
Moving to a new place means you have to learn your way around everything all over again. Getting lost in a new community is never fun, so make sure your child knows the route to and from school before the first day. Go over it with them a few times both on paper and in person. Make sure they are confident with the route and know alternative routes in case anything unexpected happens.
Get them involved with other kids before the school year starts
If there is time before school starts, check into local activities and groups to get your child involved with other kids ahead of time. This will help them feel like a part of the community even sooner. Plus, they will start school already having made some friends and will see familiar faces around campus.
Hear out their fears and concerns
Sit down with your child and ask them what their fears and concerns are around starting at a new school. Encourage them to be honest with you and create a safe space for them to share. Then, address their anxieties with compassion and do your best to ease whatever concerns they are having. It’s important that they know their feelings are valid, heard, and respected.
Focus on the positives
To make the experience as positive as possible, focus on the good things about starting at a new school. Go shopping for new clothes and supplies and help them register for activities and clubs they can look forward to. On their first day, make it extra special by packing a delicious lunch with some of their favorite foods.
Stick to a routine
Between a big move and a new school, your child’s world will feel very different and uncomfortable for a little while. It’s important to stick to a routine in every way that you can to ease the transition. Keep meal times the same, wake up and go to bed at the same time, and maintain regular family activities like game night or movie night to make things feel as normal as possible.