Changing Schools: How to Help Your Child Make the Transition
Your child will be changing schools soon. He is nervous. How can you or your nanny help him navigate this transition.
- 1. Do your best to keep all else the same in his world. The more changes that co-exist, the more difficult the transition will be.
- 2. Make the new school as familiar to him as possible. You and he can jointly travel the route between home and school often. Help him get familiar with the path. You both can tour the school . . . when students are not present (to avoid overwhelming your child). Help him get familiar with the building. Introduce him to his principal, teacher, and other school faculty and staff with whom he will interact once he begins attending school there. Help him get familiar with the adults he will rely upon once he starts attending his new school.
- 3. If you know some parents of children at the new school, arrange for play dates to introduce your child to some of his classmates before he starts attending at his new school. Then, when he goes to his new school on his first day, he will already have friends waiting for him.
- 4. On his first days of school, send comforting and familiar items with him to school. Such items may be an “I love you!” sticky note inside his backpack, a favorite snack in his lunch sack, etc.
- 5. At the end of his first day in his new school, set aside extra time to talk with your child about his first day experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Praise his positive experiences, comfort him in his negative experiences, and encourage him to embrace another day.
- 6. After several weeks, visit with your child’s new teacher. Ask the teacher how your child is adapting. If he is not adapting as well as hoped, ask the teacher for suggestions. Some common techniques for fostering social integration at this age are throwing a children’s party and inviting existing and prospective friends and classmates, taking snacks to school for the whole class to share, bringing a popular show-and-tell subject (i.e., the family pet), etc.
These and many other ideas can help you help your child make the transition to a new school.
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