Tips for Starting Kids in a New School

Starting Kids in a New SchoolThe first day of school is rapidly approaching, and if you have recently moved into an apartment in a different school district, your kids may be feeling some anxiety about starting the year in a new school. It’s hard to walk into an unfamiliar building where you don’t know anyone, so a bit of advance planning can make all the difference. Here are some tips to help your children feel comfortable in their new surroundings and get to know their new classmates:

Take a Tour Ahead of Time
You can take some of the fear out of the first day by making sure your children are familiar with the school building and neighborhood first. Most schools offer an orientation day for new students, but if yours doesn’t, call the principal about a week before classes begin to schedule a tour.

Be There on the First Day
Your children might not say so, but they’ll be grateful for your presence on the first day. It’s a big comfort to walk onto a new playground with someone you know, so be that person for your child. You can change to a regular drop-off or bus schedule on Day 2 when they feel more secure.

Investigate Extra-curricular Activities
The sooner your children make some new friends, the better they’ll feel about their new school. Check out local sports, performing arts groups, and after-school clubs to help your children meet other kids with similar interests. If you can do this before the school year starts, even better.

Stay Positive
Listen to and acknowledge your children’s concerns, but don’t get caught up in a negative spiral of "what ifs." Instead, keep upbeat about the school and any special advantages it offers. Remind your children that soon they will know many other kids their age, and they won’t feel like a stranger.

Starting over in a new school can be tough, but with your support and compassion, your children will get through this challenging transition. Keep the lines of communication open and encourage your children to reach out to new people and experiences. Soon enough, that new school will feel like old hat.