Many parents don’t realise just how difficult it is for children to adjust to a change of school. School cultures can vary radically and the look and feel of a new school (not to mention the rules) can be completely different to what the child has experienced before.
Jason Ladcock from healthguidance.org has compiled a list of helpful tips for assisting children in managing the transition to a new school:
• Before the first day of school, make an appointment to meet with the school principal. Introduce your child to the principal and his new teacher. By doing this, you are helping the child feel comfortable because they feel like they already know someone in their new school on their first day.
• When the child isn’t present, talk to the teacher, and discuss your child’s strengths and weaknesses. This will prevent the child from being placed in classes that are too difficult or easy for them. Trying to keep up in a class that is too hard for your child can add extra stress for them at a time when they don’t need it. Being placed in a class that is too easy has its own problems. Your child may become bored and act out or just not fit in with the other children. Talking with the teacher and ensuring proper placement will ease the transition into a new classroom.
• Be positive. The parent’s attitude has more affect on the child than all the other factors put together. If you have a negative attitude about the move or show nervousness, it will affect your child. Be positive and talk about what a good experience it is to have the “opportunity” to move to a new city and school. Explain that it offers all sort new experiences that they will enjoy.
• Acknowledge your child’s feelings and let him express them. Be sure to tell your child that he can talk to you at any time about problems he is having at school or feelings that he is having. Knowing that you’re there for him will take a lot of stress away.
• Make the first day at school as smooth as possible. Prepare everything the night before – clothes, lunches, school supplies, etc. Rushing on the first day at his new school will make the child nervous before he ever enters the school.
• Let your child know that he is welcome to invite new friends home from school.
• Host an activity at your home for your child’s classroom. This is a great way for your child to get to know the other kids.
• Help your child join extracurricular activities at school. When your child has a common interest with other kids, it is easier to get to know them.
I hope these tips prove helpful. I would love to get your feedback about what has worked for you.