Tips for Helping Your Child Adjust to a New School
Children are comfortable with routine and familiarity and adjusting to a new school may not come naturally. Few kids respond well to a move to a new location and transition to a new school. When everything familiar to a child is taken away, he or she is likely to feel depressed and angry, making it that much more difficult to transition to a new learning environment. However, parents can ameliorate this challenging situation by carefully implementing the strategies detailed below.
Perform a Test Run before adjusting to a new school
It is a mistake to simply drop off your little one at the new school, wish him or her the best, and zoom on off to work. As is often said, practice makes perfect. This axiom is certainly applicable in the context of grade school socialization. Bring your child to the new school a couple of days before he or she is scheduled to start classes. Walk around the building, showing your child the classroom(s) he or she will be learning in. Ideally, your youngster will meet the teachers and possibly even students, so he or she knows exactly what to expect on the first day of class.
Stress the Importance of Making new Friends
Your child will feel much more comfortable heading off to school if he or she makes at least one new friend right off the bat. Unfortunately, most kids challenged with adjusting to a new school are shy and hesitant to reach out to others to form new friendships. You can help your child befriend kids in his or her age group by enrolling him or her in a day camp or youth sports league where fellow students at the new school are likely to interact with one another.
It will also help to scout out the houses on your street to see if any kids in your child’s age group live in the neighborhood. Introduce your child to these youngsters, and he or she will already have a couple of friendships formed before getting on the bus and going to class.
Load up on School Supplies
If your child has a wide array of school supplies on-hand at home and at school, he or she will feel that much more prepared for the transition to a new learning environment. Buy a couple extra of everything ranging from pens to binders, loose-leaf paper packets, notebooks, and beyond so your child does not have to spend a single second worrying about whether he or she has enough supplies. This way, your little one’s focus will be on making a graceful transition to the new school, forming friendships, and learning subject matter in-depth.
Encourage Your Child to Ask Questions About the Transition
There is a good chance your child will clam up and interact with you only when necessary in the days leading up to the transition to the new school. This means your child is depressed and possibly fearful of entering a new environment. Your little bundle of joy probably has numerous questions and concerns yet is hesitant to voice them. Encourage your son or daughter to ask anything on his or her mind. Simply verbalizing such questions and concerns really will reduce your child’s nervousness and fear. However, it is imperative you provide in-depth, detailed answers to assuage your child’s fear of the unknown. If you do not have the answers, contact the school for more information or do some research on the internet, so your child has all the knowledge he or she needs to feel entirely comfortable at the new school.
Remind Your Child of Prior Successful Transitions
Kids understandably feel hesitant to settle in at a new school, neighborhood, and town. However, if you remind your child of his or her prior “firsts,” ranging from the first day in preschool to the first day in elementary school, joining a sports league and introducing him/herself to a potential friend, the prospect of enrolling in a new school won’t be as intimidating. Hopefully, these tips will help you and your child as you prepare for adjusting to a new school.