Just when you think moving is tough, you realize just how difficult it is for your kids. Children have a hard time adapting to change, especially when it’s in the middle of the school year, so much so that you may be questioning whether moving was the right decision for your family. But don’t worry. With these helpful tips, you can get your children excited about moving to a new school, making new friends and exploring a new community.
Inform the School Ahead of Time
The first thing to do when planning a move during the school year is to contact the new school once you know which one your child will be attending. Doing so allows the staff to prepare for your child’s arrival. As a result, they’ll have a desk, cubby space, coat hook, and learning material ready which is key to helping your child adapt to their new school environment.
This is an important step that should never be underestimated because your child is already feeling out of place. Not having their own “things” upon their first stay of school will make them feel even more uncomfortable and unattached to their new surroundings.
Keep the Same Routine
Rule no. 2 is to keep the same school routine. The new surroundings, teachers, hallways, and students are enough change for one child. In fact, it can be darn right terrifying for them. So, keep everything else the same, from after-school activities, routines, rules, bedtimes, etc. and do the same for the morning.
Take a Walk Around the Neighborhood
If you live close enough to what will soon be your new home, take a walk around the neighborhood. Walk the path your children will be taking to school (or drive it if they’ll be taking a bus), take a trip to the local park, explore the playground at the school, and do this as often as possible. This will help them become familiar with their new surroundings, so they won’t feel as uncomfortable and anxious upon moving day.
Give Your Child a Break
As a parent, it’s easy to forget what it’s like being a child. Things that you would never think twice about can cause your child an abundance of anxiety. So, remember that this change is tough for them. Their attitude might change a bit, they might give you a harder time in the mornings, and if other factors caused the move, such as a divorce or job loss, remember that they too are feeling the effects of the change. Remain supportive and understanding. It’ll take them some time to adjust.
Get Your Child Involved with Local Activities
Making friends can be hard, especially in this day and age where kids would rather interact online instead of in person at the local park. Heck! The park will likely be empty or filled with kids playing on their handheld devices instead of climbing the monkey bars. So, talk with your child and see what type of activities they’d like to get involved with. It could be a sport or even a local group. This will help them make friends and will certainly aid with the transition.
Consider Alternative Options for your Older Children
Moving during the school year can be the hardest thing for a teenager to do. They already have their friends – and at that age, their friends are more important than family – and going to a new school where everyone else already has their group of friends can be difficult. It’s like throwing a lamb into a den of lions, or at least, it can feel like that for a teenager. While it may not seem like a big deal to you, and yes, your teen will get over it, the hormones and emotions they’re already experiencing can make moving during the school year unbearable. It can affect their grades, attitude, mental state, and much more.
So, if they’re having a really difficult time adjusting to the idea of moving, consider alternative options. If you can hold off until the summer, perfect! Otherwise, see if there is a family member or friend that’s willing to take them in until the school year is finished.
Moving during the school year can be incredibly hard for children. Not only are they uprooted from everything they know, but they’re now being thrown into an environment with strangers for eight hours a day. It’s tough. So, try to remember what it was like being a child and the transition will be easier for the entire family.