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Heading Back to School for "The New Kid"

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For most kids, heading back to school is an exciting time. It’s a chance to reconnect with friends, see new classrooms and experience the accomplishment of moving up a grade level. For some kids, however, a fresh school year also means starting at a new school after a move. This can be a challenging time, but here are some ways to make the transition smoother.

Tips for Families on the Move

  1. Tell them about the move as soon as possible. Like you, children need time to process the prospect of change. They also need ample opportunities to say goodbye. So, let them share the news with peers and teachers.
  2. Emphasize the positives. Talk about the upcoming move in terms of a new family adventure and keep the emphasis on gains—like a new bedroom or a larger backyard. If you harbor concerns, avoid expressing them in front of your children.
  3. Schedule time for fun. When the move will put some distance between your current home and your new one, create a family “bucket list” of places and things you all want to do before moving day.
  4. Tour the new school. Start a dialogue with the new school early and ask to arrange a tour for your child, possibly even to meet some of the staff so that on the first day there are some familiar faces. Practice your route to and from school to make it more familiar.
  5. Register for sports or other activities. While some organizations may require you be a resident before registering for their programs, signing up for what you can before you arrive, especially if your move occurs during the summer months. It’s an excellent way to introduce your child to future school peers and get them active in the community immediately after arriving.
  6. Consider getting involved with the school. Networking as a parent often leads to your kids meeting the children of other parents. In addition, volunteering for committees and clubs also shows your children that you’re invested in their experience at a new school.

After Making a Fresh Start

Even the most adaptable children might need extra attention and time to deal with change. As challenges arise, brainstorm together to help empower your child to arrive at their own solutions.

Remember that it’s important to be patient as you all settle into the next phase of your family’s life. Primarily, be confident and optimistic about your family’s fresh start—it will transfer to those around you.

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