The First Day At A New School Is Hard; Help Your Child Be The Best New Kid On The Block With These 6 Simple Tricks
The great thing about moving over the summer is that, when your child is starting school, so is everyone else. And because the summer is the most popular time of the year to move, they’re probably not alone. Nevertheless, you can help ease your child’s back to school nerves and get them off to a good start with their new peers. To do so, balance treating the transitional period like the important (and formative) event it is vs. encouraging your child to have fun, be themselves, and form organic bonds.
In this post, we’ll explore the best strategies for empowering your child to make friends and transition to their new social and academic environment with style.
Acknowledge Their Feelings and Talk About Them Seriously.
The worst thing you can do is tell them that their anxieties about their first day of school are unwarranted. Even if the situation isn’t truly as bad as they think it is, they are still genuinely feeling stress. Consider using “anchor charts” (a standard primary school teaching tool) to ask your child how they are feeling, encourage them to talk to you about it, and keep yourself actively engaged in the conversation about it.
Get Involved In Pre-Academic Session Activities Where They Can Meet People
Formal community school and sports programs, as well as local library-based reading programs, are great spaces for meeting and making friends with peers before the first day of school. But keep in mind that local parks and playgrounds are also great places for informally meeting and making friends. Talk to your real estate agent about the local children’s leagues and hangout spots to get a better idea of what’s available in your new neighborhood!
Make School Year’s Resolutions.
Encourage your child to set goals for what they want to achieve during the school year that have nothing to do with going to school. Hyper-focusing on their identity as a student can make starting the new school hyper-stressful. Empowering them to cultivate interests outside of the classroom will help them feel more secure and confident. Teaching SMART goals makes a huge difference in how kids think about and handle things that stress them out.
Go Back To School Shopping So They Can Shape Their Own Experiences.
Back to school shopping is an almost ritualistic activity for kids. Picking out new binders, backpacks, and pencils gives them a chance to control their own experience. Yet, for the average family, back to school shopping can be a financial hazard; the average k-12 student needs almost $700 worth of new clothes and supplies for the new school year. Try using money-saving and couponing apps like Ibotta and Target’s Cartwheel to bring down costs.
Throw a School Year’s Eve party.
Have your child invite friends from their summer programs or who they spend time within informal settings over the night before school starts. Plan a loosely-structured last hurrah before the school year starts. Of course, since it’s a school night, things can’t get too rowdy. But celebrating the start of the school year instead of having a funeral for their summer freedom goes a long way towards getting them started with the right attitude.
Duplicate Your Normal Back-To-School and First-Day-of-School Traditions
Tradition is calming in unfamiliar situations. Whether your kids are preschool-age or headed to high school, normalizing their back to school experience is essential. If you don’t have set routines already, try involving the new house so your child feels connected to it. Marking their height on a door frame or making yard pavers with their handprints go a long way towards making the new house feel like a good place to come home to.
Having the right clothes and the right haircut can help your child fit in at their new school. But having the right attitude will make the difference between a rough or smooth start to the year. Whether you have moved into a new district, are planning to do so soon, or are supporting your child’s transition from primary to secondary school, prepare them to start the year right. Help your child feel secure in your support for them, connected to their new home and community, and confident in themselves.