Moving is stressful for everyone, but for school-age children, there is the added anxiety of starting a new school. Whether your children are in elementary school or high school, they will still worry about the new routines and cultures in their new environments.
You certainly have a lot on your hands as well, from the costs of moving to getting all the utilities turned on. However, it’s important to take a little time to acclimate the younger members of your family to their new lives.
Here are a few ways you can help alleviate the stress of starting a new school for your kids.
1. Take a Practice Run
Part of the scariness of starting in a new school is the unknown. Where is it? What does it look like? How far away is it from home?
If you have not yet visited the school with your children, try to arrange a visit before they start classes. Perhaps attend a sporting or arts event, just to get the lay of the land and see everything in action before the big day.
If your children will be walking or taking the bus, take a practice run with them. Pick out landmarks along the way and see how long it takes to go from door to door.
If your children understand how they are getting to school and what to expect, they will feel less stressed on their first day.
2. Meet Other Families
It’s always easier to start at a new school when you know someone. If you don’t already know people in the town, try to connect your children with others their age before they set foot in their new classrooms.
Many local municipalities have online message boards and forums where you can learn about available afterschool and summer activities. If your kid is athletic, he or she might want to join a soccer league or try out for softball to meet others with similar interests.
If there is a teen center or skate park in your new town, show your children where it is, or perhaps there is a class or camp at the local park district that might interest them.
Let them take their time and make their own friends. You will be surprised how kids can find their way if you point them in the right direction.
3. Stay Positive and Honest
If you feel panicked and stressed out over all the new changes in your life, your kids will pick up on those emotions and get stressed out too.
Try to accentuate the positive and treat your move like a great adventure.
If the fear gets the better of you, be honest with your kids. You can admit that you have some anxiety over all the changes, but make sure they know that you are confident that it’s all for the best. Your honesty will help them understand that their fear is natural and that they can confide in you if things get overwhelming.
4. Keep Some Reminders of the Old Routine
No matter how old your kids are, they will find comfort in some of the trappings of their childhood, whether it’s a favorite teddy bear, a good-luck hoodie or their fifth-grade backpack.
Make sure one or two of these keepsakes are not packed away but are easily accessible during the transition. If your kid has his lucky keychain with him on his first day of school, that little token may give him the courage he needs to face some of his new challenges.
Don’t forget the family pet! Dogs and cats can also get stressed over moving, but can also be excellent sources of comfort to kids as they start at a new school. Bring Rover to greet them at the bus stop the first week—they will love seeing him, and he may even help them meet new friends.
5. Take Your Time
Your son or daughter may take a few days or even weeks to get accustomed to his or her new routine. Try not to pester them daily with: “How was your day? Did you make any new friends?”
Usually, kids become acclimated within a few weeks, but everyone adapts differently to change.
By staying positive and supportive, but also letting him know it’s okay to be a little nervous or shy, your child will feel free to come to you for help when he needs it.
Starting at a New School: A New Adventure Awaits
When you move to a new home, your life and the lives of all your family members may seem like it has turned upside down. Don’t worry! Soon you will all settle in and realize all the reasons why you decided to make this exciting change.
If you’re moving and need assistance, contact us.