If you’ve recently moved to a new home as a family, you are no stranger to transition! And although kids are extremely adaptable, they also thrive with familiarity and consistency, so transitions can be a unique challenge for them. Often, moving to a new home will mean that your kids will be attending a new school as well. Especially in those first few weeks of the school year, helping your kids adjust to and love the new setting isn’t always easy, so I would love to offer a few ideas that may help ease this transition and get you and your kids thriving in your new setting in no time!
Ask questions. This one is key. One of the biggest things that can help support a child through a transition is to communicate. Kids may not be able to verbalize their fears, excitements, and stresses unless we ask specific questions to help them process and open up.
Engage with the community. One of the most intimidating things for children when going to a new school is not having any existing friends there. It is hard to be the “new kid,” but this feeling can be eased if your child has the opportunity to connect with classmates before the first day of school. Maybe there is a Facebook group you could connect with to see any “back to school” gatherings that may be going on or take the initiative to arrange a play date with some future classmates.
Stay positive. Children are so affected by the tone parents set. If parents jump into the new school with enthusiasm, they will be more prone to follow suit. Some small and practical ways to keep a positive outlook is to go “back to school” shopping with your child and let them pick out supplies that excite them. Little things like special snacks, a new pair of shoes they love, and a backpack they chose themselves can make a big difference in helping them look forward to that first day of school.
Emphasize what’s familiar. When navigating significant life changes with your child, it can be helpful to really prioritize familiarity at home. This could mean starting their “school morning” routine a few weeks early so they are already used to it, having their favorite breakfast on hand for school mornings, and prioritizing mealtimes in the evening to regroup as a family. Having some aspects of life that are consistent and stable can make the new school transition less overwhelming for your kiddos.
Connect while they’re at school. This one can employ a little bit of creativity and is a great way to remind your child that you love them, you are thinking of them, and you are there for them even while they’re at school! Draw a little picture or write a little note and slide it into their backpack or lunch box in the morning. Or if your child is older, shoot them a text to check in with them during the day!
Most importantly, give yourself and your kids some extra grace as you navigate everything that comes with going to a new school. It really is just a matter of time before new friends are made, new rhythms are found, and new places become familiar. Here’s to a great school year, friends!