Moving schools can be a daunting and disruptive experience for children of all ages. We offer tips for making the transition into a new school easier.
Why moving schools is scary
Sometimes parents forget how intimidating it can be to start at a new school.
Moving schools means entering a completely new social environment. You’re up for inspection by crowds of new kids and teachers. You don’t know a soul, so nobody “has your back”. And you don’t yet know what’s expected.
In the adult world, certain rules of politeness protect you – but kids don’t always play by those rules. (Teachers don’t either).
If the transition into a new school isn’t handled well, children can suffer from stress, anxiety and other mental health issues. These can affect their home life, friendships and grades.
Tips to help kids adjust to a new school
With the right support and attitude, you can minimise the stress and disruption your children experience.
Discuss the move in advance
Have conversations about the move well in advance. This will give your children time to come to terms with it and the effect it will have on their lives.
Keep a positive attitude
Help your kids to view the move as a positive thing. If you stay enthusiastic and talk constructively about the move, your kids are more likely to be excited about it.
Let them ask questions
Your kids will have legitimate concerns, so don’t downplay or dismiss any issues they raise. Take their questions seriously, even if they seem silly to you.
Help them make friends
Enrol your kids in sport and extracurricular activities to help them make friends. Invite new friends over for a sleepover or a play date.
Expect changes in behaviour
The new environment may result in behavioural changes in your children. Talk to your kids often and monitor their behaviour so you can spot any worrying trends early.
Keep a similar routine
Try not to disrupt their daily routine. There may be some unavoidable changes – a new commuting distance, for example – but a familiar routine will make them feel secure.
Ensure they get enough sleep
Sleep deprivation makes it harder to deal with stress, which will affect your kids’ ability to settle into a new school. It can also affect their physical and mental health.
Take them to the school beforehand
Before the first official day, take them to the new school so they can become familiar with the layout. This will minimise confusion and surprises on their first day.
Make staff aware of any challenges
Make sure their teachers know about any challenges your children may be facing due to the relocation, such as leaving their old friends behind.
Try to stay in touch with old friends
If possible, help your kids keep in touch with old friends and even their favourite teachers. Familiar faces will help the transition.
Collect them from school
Even if they normally take public transport, pick them up from school for the first few days. Seeing you after a strange and potentially stressful day will make them feel secure.
Make sure there’s quality time at home
Have dinner together, play games or enjoy a movie night. Spending quality time with your kids and giving them ample opportunity to talk gives them structure and security.
Be patient and considerate
There will be ups and downs. Be patient while your kids settle into their new school, home and routine.
Be mindful of older teens: moving schools is tough for them too
Teenagers in higher grades also suffer from stress when moving to a new school. In fact, it may be harder for them to settle socially than it is for younger children.
They have the added worry of exams and deciding what to study after school.
Let them know you’re there to help and listen.
However, be aware that it may be harder for them to open up and talk about their concerns.
They’re probably feeling insecure and under stress. So be patient and do whatever you can to support them, with their studies and social lives.
At the same time, keep things “normal” at home. Enforce the usual boundaries and stick to the routine that everyone recognises.
Make moving easy with XtraSpace
We can’t help with the stresses of moving schools – but we can assist with convenient storage space.
If you’re relocating, we offer clean, secure self-storage units that are ideal for storing household furniture and other items of all sizes, until you’re ready to move, sell or donate them. Contact us for more information or browse to find a branch near you.