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Back to School Series: Starting at a New School

Advice For Going to a New School

When your child enrolls in a new school, the first day back can be nerve-wracking (at a minimum). Being the new kid in school exposes your student to a unique set of challenges, and today I'll share some advice for making that transition a little bit easier.

Visit the school before the first day

When your child is familiar with where they'll be going to school things like making new friends and doing well academically will be slightly easier.

If there's a new student orientation before the school year starts, take full advantage. Otherwise, coordinate with the school to arrange a time for you and your child to see their classrooms, the cafeteria, gymnasium, and everywhere else they'll be spending time. If you can both meet the teachers, that's even better.

Practice your school routines ahead of time

A week or two before the new school year starts, begin transitioning into the new routine. Set alarm clocks for earlier wake-up times, see how long it will take to walk to the bus stop or drive to the new school, and everything else that goes into your unique morning routine.

Get to know other kids in the neighborhood

Is your neighborhood full of other school-aged kids? If you've moved to a new home, you'll surely be introducing yourself and your family to the new neighbors. While you're encouraging your child to be open to making new friends, follow your own advice!

As you get to know the neighbors you may find that many have children the same age as your own. And since today's kids spend so much time indoors, it can be hard for kids to meet on their own in the neighborhood.

Encourage involvement in activities and sports

Extracurricular activities are a great way for your child to make new friends and feel more comfortable at their new school. As an added bonus, some sports teams begin practicing before the school year officially begins, which can help ease new school jitters since your student will already know some people.

Sports aren't the only option, though. See if your child's new school has an art club, music club, chess club… well, you get the point. Joining a community of like-minded peers will make being the new kid much, much easier.

Be careful about an overfilled schedule, though. You don't want your child spreading themselves too thin.

Remind your student that everyone is nervous

If your child is nervous about starting at a new school, give them some perspective: everyone else is nervous, too. Even if the other students are returning to the same school, transitions into a new school year tend to bring about some anxiety for everyone.

If you're looking for more tips about easing back to school anxiety, be sure to read this helpful article for more suggestions.