Summer break is prime time for families on the move. School is out and vacations are in, making it easy for people to put down some new roots.
If a new school is one of the things on your list this fall, here’s some tips on how to help your children adjust.
Start the conversation early
Talk to your children as soon as you think about moving. Have open, honest conversations about what the move will mean for them. This should include their concerns as well as what they’re excited about. When you can, reassure them and give them advice they can act on. Try to stay as positive as you can yourself, even when things get stressful as they inevitably do during any big life change. Try focusing on the opportunities this move presents rather than the drawbacks.
Give kids some agency
A move feels out of control for everyone, so combat this anxiety by letting kids have an opportunity to make some choices and control some part of the process. You can start with small things, such as letting them pick out their new backpack and school supplies and move up to bigger decisions. If school choice is an option for your family, consider letting the children visit each school and have some input in the process.
Once your family has picked a new school, go for a visit before the first day. Let your children take a walk around, meet staff and learn the grounds. Try to go when school is in session so they can get a feel for what it’s like when campus is busy. Walk the new route to the school or the bus stop and try to establish a routine before the first day happens. If you can, try to incorporate routines from your children’s previous school so that it feels familiar to them.
Consider signing your child up for an extracurricular activity to meet some new friends. For younger children, meet up with parents and set up some playdates so they can get acquainted with their new classmates ahead of time. If you have time in your schedule, get involved in school activities to help your family smoothly transition into your new community.