Relocating to a new city or neighborhood can be one of the most stressful experiences for both adults and children. The one thing that makes it even more stressful for school aged kids is starting a brand new school. So what can you do as a parent to help ease the stress and anxiety that your child will be experiencing?
Give your child as much notice as possible (and as appropriate) to get used to the idea of the move, and the new school. Making your child as much a part of this process as possible makes the transition smoother and also gives your child a confidence boost in helping them feel they have some control over the situation.
Listen, Communicate, and Keep Positive
Be willing to listen without judgment or dismissing your children’s worries as unrealistic, even if you do not agree with their reasons for feeling the way they do. Mostly just listen to your child and help them to also see the good in the situation. Make sure your child knows that he or she can talk to you about anything without fear of reprisal. Finally, set an example by modeling healthy coping behavior, including admitting your own general anxiety or sadness about the move by demonstrating how to deal with those feelings in a healthy way.
Remember new friends can be made anywhere, so by helping them get involved with new clubs, sports, classes, libraries, etc, it will help with the success of their transition. Making friends is important to your child’s development. Get your kids signed up for all the things they loved doing at their old school. Communicate with them and be sure you’re not pushing them into more than they can handle, but don’t let them get away with not doing anything.
It really doesn’t matter if you’re in a new school or not, routine matters! Make sure you’re clear with your children about what is expected of them: what time they are to wake up, what their chore responsibilities are, when they should do homework, etc. Then make sure you follow through. Children and teens need structure—it actually helps them to feel more comfortable because they know what to expect.
Keep up With Old Friends
While Making New Ones Encourage your kids to keep up with their old friends so they don’t feel like they suddenly have no friends at all. In this day and age there are numerous ways to keep in contact. While they should stay in touch with their old friends, keep encouraging them to make new ones in their new place.
Be aware that your child’s grades could be affected by the move. Often, grades go down due to the change in curriculum, change in teaching styles or your child needs time to adjust. Most likely you will get some sort of a fight from your child. Know that this is normal. Once they have had a couple months to adjust, things will get easier. If things have not changed after about 6 months, you may want to get a counselor or someone your child can talk to involved.