Is Your Child Switching Schools? Here’s How You Can Help Them Ease Into This New Environment
Moving to a new city or neighborhood or transitioning into a new school can sometimes be extremely difficult for children. Leaving their friends and classmates behind and starting fresh isn’t very fun for kids, not even for the extroverted ones who usually make friends quite easily. These transitions can become difficult, and time has to pass in order for children to completely ease into a new environment.
Having to attend new classes or meeting new teachers and classmates can overwhelm any child, that’s why, as parents, we have to make sure we provide all the necessary support and guidance our children might need. In the beginning, feeling out of place will be normal, but if we encourage our children to be more social, participate in school and community activities, blending in shouldn’t take that long.
Stress, discomfort, and acting out will play major roles in a child’s behavior when switching schools, as well as withdrawing from social activities. A new school transition encompasses many things, and at Da Vinci Collaborative, we’ve been comparing notes on this subject for a long time. In this article, we’ll be discussing how parents can help children adjust to a new school.
Key steps to help your child ease into a new school environment
The younger the child, the easier it will be for them to adjust. More serious problems can arise for older children, especially teenagers, who not only have to deal with making new friends, but also learn to cope with greater academic pressure while adjusting. The truth is that children, much like adults, find comfort in familiarity and routine, so helping them get accustomed to this new community is paramount.
Below, you can check out several steps you can take to smoothen your child’s transition to a new school. For this list, we’ve drawn inspiration from other teachers, as well as from our own expertise in tutoring children with different learning challenges. This list encompasses how parents should help their children, but we’ll be writing another article soon for teachers, and how they can accommodate new students in their classrooms.
1. Communicate with your child
First and foremost, be honest and clear with your children. If you’re planning on moving, or just switching schools, make sure you let them know in time. This will allow them to process the situation and have enough time to get comfortable with the idea. The worst thing you can do is hide the fact that they’ll be attending a new school the following semester. Chances are this won’t be an easy process, and no matter how you break the news with them, they could act out. Create a safe space and have honest conversations with your child, even if it’s difficult, and they should understand.
2. Make them part of the process
If they’re a bit older, you can involve them in the decision-making process. If you’re moving to a different state or city, try scouting new schools together with your child, and also take their opinion into consideration. If they feel like they’re part of the process and in control, this can ease the tension a bit and even make the process enjoyable. Make sure you both talk to teachers and even other students if you have the chance. You can also inquire about book clubs, sports teams, theatre clubs or any other extracurricular activities the potential schools might have.
3. Allow both yourself and your child to take everything in
Once the deed is done, one of the most important steps is to put yourself into your child’s shoes and try to understand what they’re going through. Keep in mind that there will be both good and bad days, both for you and your child. Even if they contributed to the final decision, the first few months might be rough. Until they actually make friends and become familiar with the teachers, they’ll have many ups and downs. However, don’t rush things, allow them to express their emotions, show up for them and make them feel seen and heard.
4. Plan fun activities
Try keeping your child’s downtime at a minimum, especially in the beginning. You can organize fun activities for the entire family to enjoy, both indoors and outdoors. Furthermore, you can also arrange small get-togethers with other children from the school, and keep a lookout for any field trips or camping activities. The idea is to keep your child occupied, and hopefully, they will enjoy themselves and even make new friends in the process.
5. Keep things simple
The last thing you want is for your child to become overwhelmed. They’re probably going through a lot, so make sure that you tap the brakes once in a while. Keeping a healthy balance is key, whether it’s planning activities, having serious talks or organizing get-togethers. Don’t become annoying and overbearing, and trust that things will fall in place at the right pace. Furthermore, if your child is having difficulties with studying or catching up to the rest of the class, you might consider hiring a private tutor.
There’s really no secret recipe for magically accommodating your kids into a new school. It requires patience, love, kindness and a lot of listening to help them ease into this new environment. Add some fun activities into the mix and a strong support system, and soon enough your child will feel right at home at this new school.
In need of private tutors?
We work with children every day to help them study and guide them through school and life. If you’re in need of specialized tutoring for your child, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our teachers can’t wait to meet new students and embark on new learning journeys.