The school year often comes with transitions.
Whether it’s your child’s first day of Kindergarten, or they are transitioning to a new school or new grade, these changes can have big consequences to your student. Just think about it: school is your child’s job. It’s where they spend the biggest part of their day during the school year, and it has some of the most important things they will ever do.
Many students report things like moving, leaving friends, changing grades, and changing schools as being highly stressful. The same can happen when there is a new teacher when they move up from elementary to middle school, or middle to high school, and at any other time, there is a major change in their life.
It’s important that you recognize the importance these transitions have on your child’s life and that you take the steps you can to help make it easier for them. Here are some tips on how to make transitions easier:
- If you have a choice of schools, discuss it with your child and listen to his opinions about which school he’d like to go to.
- Talk to your child about future transitions (such as moving up a grade) and encourage her to ask questions and speak freely about any concerns. Then, make a list of these concerns and do research into providing answers and reassurance.
- If your family is moving, take lots of pictures of friends and other familiar places and people so that your child will have memories. You should also get phone numbers, email addresses, and physical addresses of friends and promise to stay in touch.
- Talk to your child about anxiety. Let them know that it’s normal to feel apprehension about changes in life.
- Help your child get to know the new environment they are transitioning into as much as possible beforehand. If you can visit the new school, look at pictures online, or show pictures of the new teacher, this can all help with the transition.
- Buy school supplies and other items together and let your child participate. It will be fun, and it helps her feel like she has some control over her situation.
- If going to a new school, you should attend the school’s orientation and take your child so that you can all be more familiar with the new school and new space. This will make it more comfortable for your child when they attend on the first day.
- Be available after school starts and after the transition. Your child may have anxieties or worries that come up after the first few days and it’s important that you are there to offer support and advice if needed.
- Encourage your child to try new things. Change can be a scary thing, but it’s a part of life. You should encourage your child to try new things and these transitions will be a bit easier.