Monday, July 6, 2009

Changing Schools–Being The New Kid Is A Very Big Deal

Your new home is waiting for you. There’s excitement in the air, moving boxes all over the floor and last minute details to wrap up. But, someone in your family just might not be too excited about this move. Children can be very stressed when they leave old friends and familiar settings, whether moving across the country or across town.

School can be a second home for your child and the nucleus of their social lives. It’s hard to start all over again, especially since peer groups have become so important. Easing this transition for the younger members of the family will also ease your transition and make for a much happier experience.

Here are some tips to help your child adjust quickly.

Talk about the move even before it happens. Discuss everything you know about your new community, be enthusiastic and positive. Children can sense any reluctance on your part.
Never discount your child’s feelings about the move and new school. His fears and hesitation are real.

Most likely, you’ve already visited the new school since one of the reasons you chose your new home is because of the academic reputation. If your child didn’t go with you, take him to the school and look around, even if it’s during the summer and the school may be closed.
Encourage get-togethers with neighborhood children who attend the school. Seeing a familiar face is usually a comfort when dropped into an unfamiliar setting.

Pay attention to the kind of clothes the students wear. Even if it makes you feel like a slave to fashion, one of the worse things that could happen for your child is to show up on the first day of school and not be dressed like everyone else.

Go to school with your child on the first day. This is no time to drop her off and pick her up after school. Walk her to her classroom and introduce yourselves to the teacher. As your child continues her transition during the school year, you want the teacher to know who you are and that you are involved.

Expect some bad behavior. Children will feel unsettled and worried, even if they won’t or can’t express those feelings. Acting out may be their way of showing their frustration.
Above all, talk to your children and indicate you have an open line of communication and will help.

To help you even further, check out the Beating Back-to-School Bedlam class presented by Progress West HealthCare Center. Productivity advisor Mary Kutheis will help you discover solutions to be more organized, manage a schedule and generally guarantee a smooth transition. The program is at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21 at the Middendorf-Kredell Library.

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