While some children will thrive with a fresh start, immediately jumping into activities and making friends, others won’t succeed immediately. Some of them may find it difficult to adapt both academically and socially.
If you’re changing to new schools, use these strategies to help your child adjust to a new school.
- Maintain a Positive Attitude
The transition period begins even before your child enters the new school. Your child is likely going to be pessimistic, so the responsibility rests on you to talk up the new school.
Highlight the new opportunities that will be available, such as a fantastic music class, computer laboratory etc.
- Listen to Your Child’s Concerns
Instead of minimizing your child’s distress by saying things like “it’s not a big deal”, validate your child’s feelings by saying you know it will be hard for them to leave their school and friends.
Example: “I understand you’re worried about being able to stay in touch with your friends.”
- Be honest and upfront with your child about why you are switching schools.
If you’re relocating for a better job opportunity, moving to be closer to family, or need to find a new residence because you can’t afford to stay where you are, talk about it!
Talk about the values that influenced your decision. Make sure your child understands that you are not moving to make his or her life unpleasant and that you are not changing schools because you are unconcerned about their feelings. Instead, explain that you care but it’s ultimately up to you to make the best decision for the family.
- Learn About the New School
Quite often, anxiety stems from not knowing what to expect. If your child has a clear knowledge of what their new school will be like, they may have a more positive attitude about transitioning to the new school.
Conduct as much research as possible about the new school before your child starts attending. Get them involved in finding out about the size of the school, the types of classes offered, and what extra-curricular opportunities are available.
- Watch Out for Academic Problems
When your child switches schools midway through their academic career, there are a lot of adjustments to be made.
For instance, maybe your child never learned algebra the way the new school teaches it. Even differences in scheduling (such as block scheduling versus traditional) can pose difficulties.
So pay attention to their academic performance and provide them adequate support needed.