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Helping Children Change Schools: What Parents Need to Know

When children change schools, it is a big change for them. School makes up a large part of every child's life in time, friendships, and lessons learned. School is part of the daily routine, and a change in schools means an interruption to that routine. Whether your child is worried about the transition or they seem ready to tackle the new challenges ahead, parents can help their children change schools by developing a few smart strategies at home.

A smooth transition involves more than just filing the right paperwork. As a parent, you can help your child adapt to the transition between schools by talking to them about the change, brushing up on academic skills, and preparing your child to have a positive attitude on their first day. Let's explore several important strategies to help your child adapt to a new school.

Talk About the Reasons Why You’re Having Your Children Change Schools

Children understand growing up and going to a bigger school as they advance. But school transitions for other reasons can be troubling. When parents relocate the family, it's important to have a real talk with the kids about why and how to handle the transition.

It may seem like big stuff for the kids. But it can also really help them to understand why the change is taking place. If you're moving for a job, then talk about how jobs are important and how adults move to be near new jobs all the time. You may want to explain a few basic facts about why you've changed jobs and frame how the new job — and the new location — is a good thing.

Children can also benefit from a serious talk when the school change is due to trouble at their previous school. The child may have been struggling, or you, as a parent, may have decided that their last school was a poor environment. Having a heart-to-heart about what makes a school good for the child can help them understand why a transition needs to happen even if the family has not moved regions. Knowing why they are moving can help them deal with tackling the changes ahead.

Brush up on Their Academic Skills

When your children change schools, consider a review of their academic skills before they start. This will help your child retain what they have learned and be prepared for the classroom curriculum ahead. If you have changed states or the type of school your child is attending (ex: a Catholic vs. independent school), there may also be a difference in curriculum between the old and new schools.

Brush up on what your child learned the previous year with flashcards and practice worksheets. Then investigate if there are any curriculum differences to be concerned about. If so, help to prepare your child by studying the gap subjects together.

Study the New School Map and Find Their Classes

Getting lost can be a real first-day setback for kids trying to tackle the challenges of a new school. Finding classes, lunch, washrooms, and their locker along the way can be tough with a whole new floor plan to memorize. So get started early. Print out the school maps and study them with your kids. Identify where their locker and classes will be, circle the stairwells and highlight the washrooms. This can be extremely helpful, making it possible to navigate the new school without worries on their very first day.

Prepare for Differences in School Uniforms

Many schools have uniforms to keep dress codes fair and orderly between students. Of course, each school may have a unique uniform or dress code pieces. In all the logistics of preparing for a new home, a new school, and possibly your own new job, don't forget to update your child's wardrobe. There are several services that can help you turn the old uniforms into new uniforms in an economical way, ensuring your kids are properly dressed for their first day of school.

Help Kids Keep in Touch With Old School Friends

Leaving friends behind can be painful, but it doesn't have to be forever. With so much digital socialization today, it should be simple for your children to keep in touch with their friends from the school they are leaving behind. Staying in touch can ease the stress of the transition because no friends will actually be lost. Instead, they can become online pen pals with their past classmates, which also leaves space to befriend their new classmates in the new school.

Encourage Children to Be Optimistic About New School Friends

Making new friends, of course, can also be scary. Children may worry that their new classmates won't know or understand them the way their old friends do. It can really help to have a talk with your children about being optimistic. Remind them that every class has neat people who are worth knowing. Encourage them to be friendly and keep an open mind about new classmates they will enjoy knowing when they start attending the new school. Approaching the first day with an open mind about new friends can make it easier for children to connect and form those essential first new friendships.

Connect Your Kids With the Necessary Technology

Even before the pandemic, schools began adopting digital technology like tablets and online homework. Since the lockdowns, this tech and learning integration has only expanded. Find out what devices and platforms your child's new schools, classes, and teachers use. Then make sure your child is equipped. Also, explore the tools ahead of time so they are not behind their classmates on the first day.

Having your children change schools can be difficult for them. But preparing together as a family can make the change easier. Talk about the change and what they can expect at the new school. Go over the map, and brush up on studies to make sure their first day is as easy as possible. Stay in touch with old friends. But also encourage your child to reach out and make new friends in their new classrooms. Parents can make the school transition experience easier for their children with just a little forward planning and family teamwork. For more helpful insights on raising healthy children and successful students, contact us today.

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