Transitioning your little ones: new school, home, and friends

Written by Nicole Harrison

The beginning of a new school year is usually filled with excitement. However, the first day at a new school is a different story, and in some cases, the anticipation and excitement is outweighed by anxiety and nerves. Your child’s feelings on attending a new school may vary based on his or her age – they may feel anger, resentment, excitement, or nervousness. Regardless of how old your kids are, there are a handful of tactics to help them adjust to this change.

Orientation/school tour. This is easily one of the most important steps to do with your kids. Make time to attend new student orientation, or if there isn’t one, schedule a school tour together. Both of you will have the opportunity to learn more about the school, class structure, curriculum, and get any questions answered. Whether going to an orientation or scheduling a tour, you and your kids will become familiar with the new school before their first day. This is also a perfect time to meet the teacher. A few familiar faces and knowing where to go will make the first days much easier for your child. It may seem silly, but we promise, it will make a huge difference and will immediately make them more comfortable during the transition if they can navigate through the hallways, and find their way around with ease. Spend time learning about the new school. Are there any fun facts about the new school? When was it built? How many students go there? What type of electives do they offer? Spend time learning as much as you can about the new school. The more you learn before the first day, the more prepared your kids will be.

TMAT322Stock up on school supplies. To ease your child’s nerves, take them back-to-school shopping to stock up on school supplies they need. Most schools have a list of supplies their students will need for each grade. If the school hasn’t provided a list, contact them and ask for a list of supplies your child will need most.

Explore the playground. Before your kids’ first day, take them up to the playground, spend time playing and making them comfortable with the new set up. Find activities they like such as the swings or monkey bars and spend time playing with them. That way, when they go off to recess they will be familiar with the new playground and will most likely branch out and join other students participating in activities they love!

Prepare for the first day. Before school starts, allow your child a trial run of a school day. Practice walking to the bus stop, walking the route, or driving to school. The evening before the first day of school, run through last minute items. Where is the bus stop? What time does the bus come? What is the bus number? Pack a special lunch for the first day. Spend this time sifting through the remaining items that haven’t been addressed. If your little one seems particularly nervous for his or her first day, consider taking them to school versus riding the bus.

Get involved in your kids’ school. If your children are young, it helps to get involved. Network with other parents, get to know their teacher and classmates on a personal level. If you’re able to, volunteering your time is a great way to make your son or daughter feel more comfortable in a new environment, and they will be able to see a familiar face in class.

Set up play dates. Shortly after your kids start at their new school, set up some play dates with their classmates. This is a great way for them to build relationships with their classmates and to help them make friends at school. There is a fine line between supporting them and putting too much pressure on them, make sure your kids feel supported at all times.

Participate in extracurricular activities. Are there activities in your new community that your child has an interest in? If your son enjoys martial arts, try to find a program he can participate in. If your daughter enjoys swimming, try to find a swim team she can join. Extracurricular activities are an added bonus for you and your kids to become acquainted with the community.

Attending a new school can be stressful for children and parents, hopefully these pointers will aid the transition. We encourage parents to keep their children involved throughout the process, without being too pushy or making them step too far outside their comfort zones.

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Tips for starting a new school

Guest blog written by Lindsey Schaibly

The first day of school can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’re the new kid in school. Here are some simple tips to help your kids prepare for their first day.

Meet the Teachers

Meet The Teacher NightCheck if the new school offers an open house or a “Meet the Teacher” night to allow your child time to tour the building, meet his or her new teachers, and become acquainted with future classmates.  If not, schedule a time with the teacher(s) to introduce your child and to tour the building.  A few familiar faces and knowing where to go will make the first days much easier for your child.

Discuss Curriculum

If you are able to meet with the teachers, get an idea of the upcoming year’s curriculum and how it aligns with your child’s previous education.  Being aware of any educational gaps can assist you with helping your child, if necessary, with upcoming schoolwork. You could even ask for an overview of your child’s current curriculum to have a better idea of where s/he places in terms of classes or levels.  If your child has special needs, find out what services are available and hold those discussions prior to the new school year.

Confirm Registration

Be sure to check with the main office that you have competed all of the required paperwork and have all necessary medical forms, immunization records, etc.  Ensuring your child’s first day will be free of trips to the office and confusing questions will make the first day much less stressful.

Do a Practice Run

There is nothing worse than feeling lost in a new place.  Before school starts, allow your child a trial run of a school day. Practice walking to the bus stop, walking the route, or driving to school. Then rehearse navigating the building while stopping to find important places, such as the main office and restrooms. Visit every classroom your child will be moving to throughout the school day: library, music room, gymnasium, etc. Covering all of the bases will make both your child and you feel more at ease on the first day.

Meet New Friends

Future friends can be found in the neighborhood, summer camps, playgrounds, and even the local library.  See if it’s possible for a teacher to recommend a student to be your child’s buddy for the day and to show him/her around the new school. Your child could even shadow another child to get a better feeling for the school day. Having at least one friend right away will prevent your child from feeling alone in the new environment.

Arrange Play Dates

Another idea is to arrange play dates for your child with nearby families or children from school. Your child may feel more comfortable hosting the first play date and inviting a small group of friends to the new home. When visiting other homes, be sure to accompany your child to the first play date and be clear with any questions or expectations you have for the parent(s) who may be supervising your child. If play dates continue, research additional ideas for successful play dates and how to approach difficult situations if they arise. The most important rule to remember is your child’s comfort with the arrangements.

Offer New School Supplies

Another way to make starting a new school more exciting is allowing your child to select new school supplies. Contact the teacher(s) for a supplies list, and ask your child to decide what types of supplies, what color backpack, and the type of lunch sack s/he would like to take to school. If your child is more comfortable with the backpack from last year, allow that since it may provide a sense of comfort in the new place.

Remain Patient

Moving brings significant adjustments for every member of the family, but having to simultaneously change schools and grades is a lot for children to endure. Remember to remain patient if your child struggles with the transitions and be supportive of any hesitant feelings.  Your child may surprise you and easily adjust to the new environment. However, if necessary, seek help from a professional if you feel the struggles are too difficult for you to handle on your own.

family3ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lindsey Schaibly is the training and development specialist at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®/INTERNATIONAL, Inc. Even though she now works with adults, she is a pro when it comes to working with kids. Prior to working at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® / INTERNATIONAL, Inc. she received her Bachelor’s degree in Education and her Master’s degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, K-12. She then went on to be a middle and high school English teacher for six years. She is also a loving wife to her husband, Nick, and caring mother to their one-year-old daughter, Ryan. It’s an exciting time in the Schaibly household as they wait to welcome a little boy to their family in October!

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.