Tips for Helping Children Change Schools

This post is part of our 2017 Back-to-School Series. Throughout the month of August, visit the Varsity Tutors blog for back-to-school advice, tips, and tricks for all ages.

Even at the beginning of the school year, changing schools can be a nerve-racking experience for families. Any new activity or scenario that disrupts a comfortable routine can be rife with uncertainty and fear. However, it can also be an exciting opportunity rich with rewards. Tips for helping children change schools can include attending back-to-school nights as a family, reading up on any necessary pre-school year material, and reaching out to other parents in your new school community.

Changing schools is a shift for parents and students alike. Knowing how to handle this change as a team can help it go more smoothly. Here are tips for helping children transition into a new school, broken down for entire family units, parents, and students:

Tips for helping children change schools—for the family

Is there a back-to-school event hosted by the school before the year begins? If so, make an effort to attend it as a family. Your child may feel more comfortable in their new environment when surrounded by loved ones. Parents may also feel more comfortable seeing where their child will be spending most of their time. It may seem like a small step, but it can make a big difference. If there are siblings attending the same school, it might be worthwhile to have a discussion with them to ensure that family members will support one another at school.

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Tips for helping children change schools—for parents

Starting a new school can be just as scary for the parents as it is for the children. There are many things to navigate, including:

  • New parents

  • New policies

  • New teachers.

Give yourself a leg up, and read all of the material provided to you prior to the school year. Having that knowledge will help you in the year to come. Are there any school parents you can connect with in your community or online before the school year starts? It may also be helpful to hear other parents’ perspectives. They may even give you some key tips.

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Tips for helping children change schools—for students

A new school can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! You’re in a unique position to make some great new friends and to learn a lot. If you’re starting at a new middle or high school, you might be in the same position as everyone else—you’re all new, so embrace it! Everyone is learning, and it’s okay to ask questions. It’s also okay to not know how to do things. It will get easier.

If you’re starting at a new school and you’re one of a few new students, you’re in luck. Students are usually happy to show you around. Take advantage of that, and have fun meeting your new classmates. Sometimes it can be hard to know what to talk about right when you meet new friends. But since you’re coming off the summer months, it could be fun to talk about your favorite summer activity or a movie you saw. Also feel free to ask them questions.

Sometimes making new friends can feel overwhelming. When that happens, it could be helpful to focus on other fun aspects of your new school. It’s going to be great to learn new games at recess and to check out some interesting books that your old school’s library didn’t have. Maybe your computer lab has a fascinating game that you have never played before. There are lots of positive aspects to be on the lookout for at your new school.

A few weeks before school starts, it might be helpful to begin getting into the swing of things school-wise. Start a more regular sleep schedule so you’ll be at your best come the first day of school. Make sure you’re reading and brushing up on your math skills. That way, you can act confidently in your new classroom. And remember—your new school is lucky to have you.

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Finally, keep an open mind. You never know what will surprise you throughout this new experience.


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