By Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group
Parents with a pending move work hard to schedule the moving company
and change homes during the summer when children are between school years. We all know that a summer move is far superior to moving in the middle of the school year. It's easier to make new friends at the beginning of the year, to adjust to the new school district curriculum, and blend with the wave of other kids who moved or transferred over the summer. But that doesn't necessarily make the new-school experience any easier to handle for your kids. They still need to forge those new friendships and build their confidence in a completely new school environment without the background and history all the other kids have.
Now that the professional movers have unloaded your belongings and you are starting to settle in, we know you want your kids to have the best new school year possible. So, we've compiled a list of helpful tips for parents to help your kids make a confident transition to a new school and build those new friendships fast.
Let Your Child Pick a Special New Backpack or Binder
Every year, most kids beg for at least one special piece of school supplies. That awesome organizer binder with the dragon on it (reminiscent of the Trapper Keepers of our own youth) or that awesome new sports-brand backpack that all the other kids will have. Most of the time, practical parents point out that last year's binder or backpack will do just fine. But this year, grant your child's wish. The rare privilege of getting that new binder or backpack will give your child or teen more confidence as they face down the new school and sea of new faces. They'll know they've got at least one element of being a 'coolest kid in school' and will be happier every time they see the awesome dragon on their super-cool binder.
Study the School Map and Class Schedule Together
Whether your kids care more about pleasing the teachers or impressing their classmates, nothing is worse than being that kid who gets lost in the first week. Fortunately, this is a nightmare experience you can make sure your kids are prepared to avoid.
Get a map of the school and grounds at least a week before school starts, most school websites have one you can print out. Then go over that sucker with your child or teen until they have it memorized like the back of their hand. Point out where the front doors are, where the bus drop-off is, and how to navigate by spotting the cafeteria, the sports fields, or crossing the office.
Then laminate or plastic-sleeve that map and make sure your child can access it super quick. If they have a school planner, tape it to the inside of the front cover.
Encourage Your Child to Join School Groups & Activities
Kids in a new school tend to be nervous and shy about signing up for the very activities that will make their school year fun and inclusive. Whether your child is into sports, music, theater, or goofy student clubs, encourage them to find these groups and activities and sign themselves up. Set aside a budget for dues, uniforms, or gear just in case and let it be known that their afterschool time is their own, as long as homework gets done.
Encourage Your Child to Bring Friends Home (Even if the House Isn't Unpacked Yet)
Important friendships are usually formed at the very beginning of the year. Your child might meet another new kid or someone who doesn't have anything special to do who will become a best friend if that first new-friend magic can be extended to after-school hours. Even if your house isn't fully unpacked yet, even if you as a grownup might be self-conscious about having guests before the furniture is assembled, encourage your child to bring home friends if they have any takers.
Bringing home friends is a very important way for kids and teens to make friends that just might last a lifetime.
Starting at a new school after a summer move is hard for any child or teen, but it doesn't have to be a nightmare. By taking on the stance of the 'cool parent' and supporting your child socializing starting on the very first day, you can help your child really throw themselves into the new school year with enthusiasm. Encourage them to make new friends and tackle their schoolwork with equal vigor and support any new overtures, habits, or activities they get involved in along the way. Now is an important time for your child to adapt, and you can help.
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