Starting school—or starting at a NEW school—is challenging for any kid (and parent!). Since many families move to the suburbs during the summer, the first day of school is often filled with added pressures and anxiety. Not only is your child in a new town, a new neighborhood and away from familiar NYC, but she’s now in a big new school surrounded by new (soon-to-be!) friends, teachers and other families. But with a little prep work over these next few weeks you’ll ease the transition into her new school and ensure the year starts off right! This week: helping older elementary school kidsfind their footing in a new school.
You mastered preschool and kindergarten and, now, are ready for “big kid school.” But then the move happens and, suddenly, your once-confident student is feeling a little unsure. Remember, changing schools is a huge adjustment for even the most outgoing child—they’re in a new house in a new town with lots of new things to see and do…and now there’s a brand new school (and school bus and teacher and friends) to get acquainted to. Start laying the groundwork in these last few days and weeks and your child’s first few days will go off without a hitch!
Focus on the FUN
Even if he’s super nervous about his new school, there are plenty of things that would get any kid excited about day one—think school supplies, back-to-school shopping and planning that all-important first day of school lunch. Start there! Make planning and prepping a big deal and be sure your child is involved in every step of the process. Be sure to pay close attention to what he feels would make his first day extra special, even if it’s just a special sandwich or t-shirt he’s got to have. These little add-ons might be the thing that gives your kid a much-needed boost when the first day jitters set in.
It’s important for your child to be involved in school and community activities, but it’s equally important for her to see youenmeshed in that same day-to-day. Sign up for a PTA committee, volunteer for the fall festival fundraiser, bake something special for the first day or raise your hand to be a room parent—you being involved in her school will show that you value the transition and that, more importantly, you’re right there with her during this exciting change.
Tout His School’s Best
Do your homework and find out some special attributes of your child’s new school. Often suburban schools have more resources, opportunities and activities than their smaller city counterparts meaning, chances are, there’s something really cool your kid will be eager to try. Check out the school or district’s site and start talking up what will excite him most. It could be an intramural sports team, awesome art studios, field trips or something else—but the more you talk it up the more eager he’ll be for the first day!
Start prepping now and your child’s first day will be A+!