Starting at a new school can be hard, but if your family moves around often, it is almost inevitable. If your young child struggles with change, here are a few things that you can do right now to help him or her prepare for the upcoming school year.
Meet Your Neighbors
While even some adults are intimidated by the idea of meeting new people, it is especially important for kids to at least be familiar with the other people in their community. Take some time to walk through your new neighborhood with your child. Don't be afraid to be friendly, and don't be afraid to lead the conversation. If there are other children playing outside, allow your child to say hi and introduce himself. This will give your child a chance to familiarize himself with potential classmates, and it will also give you a chance to make some contacts in the neighborhood as well.
Continue Activities through the Summer
It may be tempting to put extracurricular activities on hold when you first move to a new area. However, if your child is a member of a scouting organization, or takes lessons on an instrument finding a local chapter or teacher can be another great way to help her get acclimated to the new area. Meeting others with a common interest in the community is a great way for your child to feel more confident in her new school.
Attend Local Events
Many communities have events throughout the summer. Libraries often offer story time. Some communities have farmers' markets, and some have fairs and festivals that take place during the summer. Getting involved in the local community is a great way to help your child meet new people. Even if he doesn't get to know everyone in the community well, he may at least feel more confident walking into his new school if he sees some familiar faces.
Take Your Child with You to Register
It may be tempting to leave your child with a babysitter while you are registering her for school, but this may be the first opportunity your child has to look around at her new school and possibly meet the office staff. If you have to take the paperwork home, fill it out and take your child with you when you bring it back. This will give your child another opportunity to visit the campus. While you are there, take a few minutes to walk around the campus with your child so that she can become familiar with the location of bathrooms, water fountains, playgrounds, and the cafeteria. Even these couple of brief visits can help your child to feel more at ease when the first day of school arrives.
Beginning a new school year is a little scary for some kids, and being the new student at a school can be even more intimidating. Help your child to make this transition easier by encouraging him or her to meet new people, continuing favorite activities, getting involved in the community, and exploring the new campus together. The more familiar that your child is with the people and places at his or her new school, the more confident he or she will be when school starts.
Looking for a school in your new area? Consider The Cottage School for your child's needs.