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How to Help Your Child Adjust to a New School

Changing schools can be hard for children, but it can also open doors to new opportunities and friendships. When your child has to change schools, there are some ways to ease the adjustment process.

Contact the school to initiate the transfer process

Whether you have moved to a new community, are open enrolling into a different district, or are enrolling in a private school, contact the school to get the transfer process started. The sooner you do this, the more likely it is that the teachers in the new school have the pertinent information they need to make the best educational decisions for your child from the beginning. When staff has relevant information before your child’s first day, your child has a better chance of success.

Spend time on the school grounds

If you have an elementary student, play on the new school’s playground. If possible, attend sporting events or fine arts performances at the new school. Scope out the drop-off and pick-up area, bus area, and parking lots. Help your child feel familiar with this place.

Get into the building

If you are switching schools at the beginning of a new school year, be sure to attend any informational meetings or open houses the school sponsors. If you are transferring mid-year, ask for a tour. After the tour or during the open house, ask for permission to re-walk the most important routes your child will use. Go over the path from the entrance of the building to the morning supervision area and to the classroom. Your child will learn where most things are by traveling with the class, but practice the routes he or she will have to take alone to meet up with the class in the morning. Finding the bathrooms might also make your child feel more comfortable.

Meet the teacher

Make arrangements for your child to meet the teacher(s). It is comforting for kids to know who their teachers are, what they look like, and that they are friendly and caring. If your child sees where his or her desk is and hears things from the teacher about the schedule and routines, the first day of school will be easier.

Get school supplies

Ask for a list of school supplies for your child’s grade. You want your child to arrive at school prepared. Having the proper supplies will help him or her fit into the flow of the classroom more readily.

Encourage friendships

Ask your child who they hung out with during the day and who they sat with at lunch. Ask who they liked and who was kind to them. Encourage your child to continue bonding with those people, and try to set up out-of-school times for them to get together. Perhaps they can be part of the same after school activity or can attend some of the same events.

Check in with the teacher

After your child has been in school for a week or so, talk to the teacher. Ask how the teacher thinks your child is adjusting, and express how you think things are going. Make sure to ask any questions you have and any questions your child has expressed at home. Share any concerns. You and the teacher can work together for the good of the child.

Changing schools is a big deal in the life of a child. By preparing in advance and being aware as your child begins the new school, you can help the adjustment go well for your child.