Tips for parents to help children when transitioning to a new school.
Published: March 31, 2018
By: Denise Morrison Yearian
- Be enthusiastic. If you are excited and confident, your children will be too.
- Review the route. Make a trip to the school before your children’s first day. Point out landmarks and turns. If they will not be taking the bus, tell them where you will drop them off and pick them up.
- Visit the school. Call and ask if you can meet the teachers and see the classrooms prior to your children’s first day. In the classrooms, point out cubbies and lockers. Show your children where the nearest bathroom is and how to get to the main office and school nurse. Ask about school supplies and the lunch program.
- Adjust the clock. If you have gotten out of a routine because of the move or summertime, adjust your children’s schedules so they get a good night’s sleep and have plenty of time in the morning to prepare for school.
- Create routines. Establish new routines so your children fall into the groove of school. Find a place in your new home for your children’s backpacks. If your children have homework, make sure it is done at the same time in the same location every day.
- Get library cards. This may not be on the top of your priority list but teachers often require children to check books out of the library. Soon after school starts, go to the library and get your children their own library cards. Even if you are busy, try to spend a few minutes each day reading to your children to foster literacy and spend quality time with them during this stressful time.
- Prepare yourself. Whether you realize it or not, sending your children to a new school may create some personal apprehensions. Be careful that your children do not pick up on any anxieties you may have. If you are excited about this new beginning at school, your children will more than likely be too. Note there may be some separation anxiety the first few days you leave your children in a new setting. Encourage them to take this new step and remind them you will be there when their school day is over.
- Arrange a playdate. Find someone in your children’s classrooms who you can arrange a playdate with. This will give them a familiar face when they walk into their classrooms every morning.
- Make extra time. At the end of the school day, set aside extra time to talk with your children about their school experiences – who they met, what they did, what their teachers are like. Sharing these experiences will be memorable and build a good foundation for later communication.
Reading Resources to Help Children Prepare for a Move
FOR YOUNG CHILDREN:
- Alexander, Who’s Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move, by Judith Viorst, Atheneum, 1995.
- The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day, by Stan and Jan Berenstain, Random House, 1981.
- Goodbye House, by Frank Asch, Aladdin Paperbacks, 1989.
- The Leaving Morning, by Angela Johnson, illustrated by David Soman, Orchard Books, 1996.
- Moving, by Fred Rogers, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1987.
FOR OLDER CHILDREN:
- Anastasia Again! by Lois Lowry, Yearling Books, 1982.
- The Moving Book: A Kids’ Survival Guide, by Gabriel Davis, Little, Brown & Company, 1997.