Moving isn’t easy for anyone, but almost nothing seems more anxiety-producing to the average child than changing schools. Fortunately, you can help ease this transition by taking the time to familiarize your child with his new school and teachers, giving him the opportunity to make friends outside of the classroom, helping him find a positive perspective, and being patient and letting your child move at the pace most comfortable for him.
Familiarize Your Child with the Layout
One of the best things you can do for your child is to give him an opportunity to tour the school and learn the layout. Going to a new school and having to make new friends breeds enough anxiety as it is; remove the anxiety of unfamiliarity.
Take the opportunity for your child to learn the classroom, cafeteria, gymnasium, and restroom locations. Also, try to receive your child’s course schedule ahead of time in order to introduce both yourself and your child to his teacher(s).
Moving is a Fresh Start
Often, a change of perspective can go a long way in soothing anxieties over a big change. Talk to your child about the opportunity of a fresh start and how he can redefine himself in the eyes of his new peers.
Participate in Community Activities and Sports
It’s hard to make friends in a classroom environment, so encourage your child to participate in fun and exciting events outside the classroom. Sports, whether through the school or a recreational league, are always a favorite. Consider taking the team out for pizza after a practice or game. Neighborhood pools are another great place for your child to make friends if moving in the summer months.
Activities and volunteer opportunities where children can participate is another great opportunity for your child to forge bonds and friendships through working on a team. Consider fundraisers or other local events. If you belong to a religious organization, community events and activities are often posted and are easily to volunteer for.
Let Your Child Move at His Own Pace
One of the hardest things to do as a parent is to stand by while knowing your child is unhappy. However, it’s important to be patient and let your child move at the pace that is most comfortable for him.
Some children tend to make new friends at lightning speed and move on without a hitch while others are slow and careful to adapt, and that’s fine. The most important thing in this process is to be there to listen to your child’s concerns, let him know that you understand, and spend a little extra time together until he’s off and running with new friends.
Chris Martin is a freelance writer for Trinity Prep School, a Charlotte, NC based private Christian school.