Modern society is more mobile than at any time in history. The reasons one chooses to move are quite diverse including the search for better wages, a better way of life or just a sense of adventure. Even though we are more mobile, one fact remains the same; moving to a new location can be stressful. In fact, many experts rank relocating only slightly less stressful than the loss of a friend or family member.
When you are moving with school-aged children, the stress can increase even more as you look to get them settled into a new school environment.
Here are 10 tips to help make their adjustment to a new school easier, whether it is across town or in another country: –
- Take positive steps to make the transition easier.
It is perfectly normal for you to be a bit apprehensive about your child’s first day at a new school; this is one time it is best to keep your uncertainty to yourself. Remind your child of other successful “firsts” in their life. Make a concerted effort to keep you home routine as close to the previous standard as possible. Most importantly, be patient. It is not unusual for children to take about six weeks to fully adjust to a new school and routine.
Be sure to talk with your child about their new school. Take a positive approach but one that allows you to address any concerns. Most students have a wish list of what they hope their school offers, such as a football team or specialised clubs, or specific academic interests. Knowing a child’s concerns and wants gives you and your child the chance to brainstorm a game plan for the upcoming school term.
- Do a trial run
Before the first day of school, make sure your child is as prepared as possible. Go through how to get to the school by walking the route, or mapping out the bus stops and noting the times. Contact the school and see if it is possible to take a tour of the school so they can see the classroom and facilities.
- Knowledge is power
Learn all you can about the new school. The more your child knows the better. Check the school’s website, student handbook, and social media for any school traditions, special days or customs. Talk with your new neighbours and with school-aged children to get advice. Look for group activities or locations, such as parks or libraries, which are potential places for children of the neighbourhood to gather, so that your child can meet some future classmates.
- Invite New Friends to Your Home
It is usually easier for young people to make new friends in their area. If you meet neighbours with same-aged children, invite them over for a play date or informal get together. Any excuse to socialise with other children is a good idea, especially if you have younger children.
- Stock Up on School Supplies
Make sure your child has everything they need for the first day of school. Many schools have a list of required and recommended supplies posted on their website or available at the school. This helps eliminate a source of potential stress or embarrassment for your child.
- Get Involved
Look for ways to be involved with your child’s school. Many schools welcome volunteers for various functions, which are an excellent way of getting to understand your child’s environment. Join any parent groups and organisations and attempt to participate in as many as possible.
- Make Sure Your Child is Well Rested
During the break in school terms it is not unusual for children to stay awake and get up later the next day. Try to move towards a standard school year sleep schedule a week or so before the new school term starts.
- Get off to a Good Start on the First day
Make the first day as stress-free as possible. Make sure that everything needed for the first day of school is organised the night before. Pack any bags and make sure that school uniform/ clothes are laid out and ready. Wake up a few minutes early and make sure your child has a healthy breakfast before heading out on their new adventure.
- Accompany Younger Children on the First Day
Younger children may not say so but in general they are more than happy to have you accompany them on their first day. Allow enough time to walk to school with your child and if possible introduce them to their new teacher.
We hope this post helps you with the task of settling your children into a new environment. For more advice on settling into a new country, keep an eye on our blog for further updates and tips and tricks.