How to Help Your Child When They’re Changing Schools
Children, especially younger children, generally easily adapt to a change of school. However, you have to stay alert. Although once the first weeks are over, most children integrate comfortably into their new schools, changing schools can be a stressful event for them.
“The first days and weeks of a new school can be exciting, but they can also be filled with uncertainty and anxiety.”
How you can help your child when they’re changing schools
- Try to tell your child that they’re changing schools as soon as possible. Also, try to involve them in the process. This way, by feeling part of the process, your child will begin to feel excited about the idea.
- Talk to your child about their emotions. Ask your child to make a list of the things that make them anxious about the idea of changing schools and talk about each one together.
“While talking positively about the move is helpful, be careful not to dismiss or minimize your child’s worries. Listen to how they feel and together come up with solutions or plans for any issues raised.”
- Maintain contact with the old school’s social networks. Before your child leaves their old school, try to contact the families of your child’s friends. This will lessen the feeling of loss your child may feel. In fact, you can even organize a small meeting with those closest to them to ensure a good farewell.
- Visit the new school with your child. Having the opportunity to walk around the facilities of the new center will help your child feel less insecure and face the first day of school with less anxiety.
- Find out who else is going to the new school. You may possibly know other families whose children, whether they’re your child’s age or not, attend the new school. Contact the families to agree to go to the first day of school together. This way, your child will feel accompanied and, therefore, will have more self-confidence.
- Offer to attend extracurricular activities. Extracurricular activities are the perfect opportunity for your child to meet new friends. Discover the different activities the school offers and talk to your child about them.
Change is part of life
Generally, big changes are scary and people tend to face them with uncertainty rather than excitement. Stepping out of their comfort zone makes people feel uncomfortable and insecure.
However, as psychotherapist Aaron Balick puts it, instead of seeing changes as frightening, you must learn to accept them as part of life. You must become aware of your anxiety, turn it into an illusion, and try to look towards the future with positivity.
It’s normal for children to feel anxious about changing schools, since it’s an event that will not only change their circle of friends but also their daily routine. Also, this series of experiences will help your children develop skills necessary for their personal life and, ultimately, for their future.