4 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Changing Schools
Whether your child is transitioning to a new campus due to a family move or graduation, changing schools can be daunting. Using the remainder of summer to address your child’s fears can prepare them for their new setting and encourage healthy methods for coping with future change. Here are four tips to get you started!
1. Set an example for living in the moment.
For many parents, the challenge of keeping kids occupied during the summer can be overwhelming. It’s easy to mentally check out, counting down the days until the family vacation or the kids go back to school. However, for your child facing a new school, it’s important to set an example of living in the moment. This can come in the form of giving your child undivided attention when they speak or refraining from using your smart phone when you’re with them. By showing that you’re available, you’re providing space for them to talk about their fears if they want.
2. Make connections with peers over the summer.
Another way to prepare your child is by helping them make early connections. If your family is new to the community, check the local library or community center for activities catered to your child’s age group. Even if they don’t make a new best friend before school starts, at least they will have a familiar face at their new school. A fringe benefit is that you may make new friends as well.
Is your student promoting to a new campus for junior high or high school? Connecting them with someone older may help. A mature student who has already experienced the “freshman jitters” can provide insight and may ease some fears.
3. Engage in constructive activities.
Many kids think summer is synonymous with video games or TV. These activities can help fill the remaining summer days, but they don’t help address anxiety. You can help your child process their feelings by engaging in constructive activities during the summer that inspire thought, interaction and creativity. Exploring an aquarium or museum or doing arts and crafts are a few ideas. Such activities also encourage kids to be life-long learners.
4. Address the true root of anxiety.
If anxious behavior is common in your child, they may be dealing with something beyond the stresses of changing schools. It is possible that a learning disability, giftedness or self-esteem issues are causing school-related anxiety. It is best to address such possibilities as early as possible. Testing can help identify the root problem and assist in establishing a plan that is customized to your child.
If you would like to discuss this topic in more detail, please contact me. I am located in the Santa Clarita, CA area.