Use these tips to make the transition easy as A-B-C! (Because being the new kid is hard)
Transitioning into a new school can be difficult for kids. Meeting new friends, teachers and classrooms can be intimidating and can make them feel alone or out of place. They’re experiencing a new environment, which can affect them academically, socially and mentally.
As a parent, there are things you can do to make the transition a bit easier for your kids. Keep these tips in mind to help your kids get more comfortable with their new learning environment.
1. Talk with your kids
In this time of transition, they are likely feeling a lot of stress and anxiety over being in a new place. Talk with your kids to find out what is bothering them, what their fears might be, and how you can better help them adjust.
Ask them questions like:
“What are you most excited about on your first day?”
“What are you worried about on your first day?”
“What can I do to make you more comfortable?”
Open communication with your kids about how they are feeling will help you better understand how you can help.
2. Lessen their load
Adjusting to a new school is hard enough without the added stress of extra activities. Lessen your kids’ responsibilities when it comes to soccer practices, scouts meetings and other activities that might add unneeded stress.
As they get more acclimated to their new environment, slowly reintroduce them back into their regular level of activity. School or non-school related activities can help your kids adjust to their new environment and make friends.
3. Do a practice run
Before your kids’ first day of school, let them see what it will be like. Drive them to the school or to their bus stop so they know how they’ll be getting to and from school. Try to have them meet their teachers before they start and have a tour of the school. Being a little more familiar with their new learning environment will make their first day a little less scary because they will have a better idea of what to expect.
4. Talk to your kids’ teachers about your concerns
Chances are they’ve had students and parents in the past who have gone through the same transition you and your kids are going through, so they’ll know what to expect and how to help. Discuss your concerns or any issues with them and ask for feedback or guidance.
They will be your best resource for knowing how your kids are adjusting in their new learning environment.
5. Get involved
Try taking an active role in your kids’ new school. Getting involved will better help you stay acquainted with their new environment, and will help you get to know their friends and other parents.
Join the school’s Parent Teacher Association or help out with a school club or sport. You might even find people who can offer advice on your transition specific to the school or area.
6. Be patient
New transitions take time. Don’t expect your kids to be fully adjusted to their new school on the first day, or even the first month. You might notice your kids behaving a little differently. This behavioral change could just be their way of reacting to their new environment–give them time to adjust.
7. Make new friends (but, keep the old!)
Just like the song goes, it’s important to encourage your kids to meet new friends in their new environment, but it’s also good to let them keep in touch with friends from before the move.
Staying connected to the friends they made in their old town will help them feel less lonely, and remind them that they can make and keep friendships.
Allow your child to call, text or email them. If you can, take them for the occasional visit. The goal here is to make new friends but keep the old.
Moving can put stress on anyone, but kids require extra care as they navigate an unknown place. Try to make the transition easier for them and before you know it, they’ll be flourishing in their new school.
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