How can you ease the anxiety your child may feel about starting a new school? One thing to consider is the time of year you move. Some experts say that summer is the best time to move school-age children because it avoids disrupting the school year. Others suggest that mid-year is better because a child can meet other kids right away. Here are more tips to prepare your child for making the move to a new school.
Visit The New School
Many schools offer orientation for new students who will begin in the fall. Children and their parents can take a look at the preschool, new sixth graders can visit the middle school, freshmen can tour the high school, and so on. Orientation helps new students find their way around the building, meet some teachers, and maybe even get to know some fellow students, making it nice to recognize familiar faces and places on that first day at the new school.
Prepare For The First Day
Prior to the first day of school, students and parents should do their homework, so to speak, and touch upon all of the bases that can be covered in advance. Being informed about the following can lessen uneasiness:
• What books or supplies are students required to bring? Some schools distribute supply lists before the year begins.
• What time does school start and finish? This information may be mailed during the summer or published in a local newspaper.
• If the student is taking a bus to school, what are the pick-up and drop-off times and locations?
• Will the child pack a lunch or purchase one at school? Does he/she need money for lunch?
• Does the school have a dress code or require a uniform?
• If the student has an advance schedule of class times and locations, he or she should review it the night before the first day and remember to bring a copy to school with them.
Here are other ways to show your support:
• Help them make good decisions, even when it’s as simple as, “What should I wear to school today?” Parents can use their children’s age and maturity levels to determine how much input they should offer: preschoolers may have a choice of two outfits, while high school teens can select their own wardrobe.
• Remind their children they will make new friends. Just as they were able to establish friendships in the past, they will do so again. Encouraging involvement in school activities and clubs will offer more opportunities to meet other kids.
• Develop routines. Whether a child is in preschool or high school, morning and bedtime rituals provide numerous benefits. Any time a child knows what to expect, he or she feels more secure and less anxious.
• Be attentive and really listen. Recalling their own difficulties at various times in their school career, parents can offer a truly sympathetic ear. Not all listening sessions have to end with “advice.” Sometimes, kids just need a sounding board.
Most importantly, parents must continue to show unconditional love and support, no matter how young or old the child.