Whether you have recently moved into a new home, or are relocating in the near future, your child should be comfortable with the concept of starting a new school. This can be very stressful, so you want to make the transition as easy as possible on your kids or teens. We’ve covered some areas that can help in making the move process and adaptation into a new school a little easier before and during the 1st few weeks of the change.
Before you move and before school starts, make sure you discuss with your child that the move will be taking place. The key to this is to stay positive and focus on the good points as we discussed in Helping your teen cope with a move. Make sure your child or teen is included with the whole process. Whether your focus is they are going to have a bigger home, or be closer to a grandparent, try to make it as positive of change for them as possible.
Remember it’s easier for a child or teen to start a new school at the beginning of a new school year. Really try not to break up their school year, if it can be avoided. This will make for a smoother transition, and studies have been shown that grades are less likely to be affected if the child is allowed to finish out the remaining time of their current school year.
Include your kids and teens when finding a new school, and getting them registered. Whether you arrange for a tour, attend school orientation, or have them at registration, make sure they are aware of their surroundings. You may want to have your teen learn their bus route, or route they will take to get home for comfort levels. For younger children, it is helpful to have them check out their classrooms, familiarize them with bathrooms, office, teachers, and surroundings. When teens are entering high school, sometimes the school will have mentor–leadership programs for new students to familiarize themselves with the surroundings, it’s also a good idea if your kids are in middle school to check with the principle or dean to see if they have some type of buddy program or mentor program to help your student get more familiar also.
Get your teens and children involved. The key to this is get to know what your child or teen wants to do, whether it’s them participating in a sport, activity, club, or hobby. See what they most enjoyed about their old place, and try to make it as similar as possible. Remember new friends can be made anywhere, so by helping them get involved with new clubs, sports, classes, libraries, etc, it will help with the success of their transition. Making friends is important to your child’s development. If your child or teen has a familiar face in their new classroom, it can also make things a little easier.
Being Knowledgeable is key! The more you know about the area and school and what they have to offer, the more you can ease your child’s anxiety, and the more you will be able to address any of your child’s or teens concerns. If your child or teen is unhappy, figure out what exactly is the root of the problem. Are they mad because they have to quit a club or sport? Are they sad because they are leaving their friends? Are they afraid they are not going to make new ones? Are they concerned about new teachers? This will help you address the potential problem, and surely ease a child’s concerns.
Encourage your child. You as a parent need to be encouraging to your child, by reminding them of previous life changes that they have gone through. This can help eliminate or decrease anxiety, or depression. For instance, remember the first day of high school at your old place how scared you were? Or when you first started junior high, or baseball, or anything new they might have done? Assure your child or teen how they conquered their last task and got through the situation. This can help your young one see the light at the end of the tunnel.
When your teen or youth finally starts school, remember it is very important on your part, to stick with a routine. A stable home environment will be more positive for your kid and they will have an easier time getting through the moving process.
Be prepared for a fight. Most likely you will get some sort of a fight from your child, whether they are being rebellious, or going through crying stages, or fits. Know that this is normal. Once they have had a couple months to adjust, things will get easier. If things have not changed after about 6 months, you may want to get a counselor or someone your child can talk to involved.
Now that you’ve settled in to your new area, get involved. Whether you are being a little more social yourself, by setting up play dates, organizing a party, or social event, help your kids or teens get a little more social life. You may want to even consider volunteering at a school or club, to help your kid.
Last but not least. Keep in touch!. Don’t forget your old friends, there are many ways your young one or teen can communicate with their old friends. Skype, MySpace, face book, and phone are all good communication tools for the kids to use. It’s much easier these days than 20 years ago to communicate.
Allow time! And you will succeed.