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Back-to-School Time is Here: Prepare Your Kids for the First Day in a New School District

Back-to-School Time is Here: Prepare Your Kids for the First Day in a New School District

The summer moving season may be coming to a close; but, just because you’ve unpacked your boxes and you’re settling in to your new home doesn’t mean that your children are comfortable with their new living situation just yet. In fact, the start of the new school year may be something that children who’ve just moved to a new school district are facing with a bit of anxiety.

What can you do to help your kids prepare for a new school year, particularly if they’re doing it in a new school district where they may not know many, or any, of their new classmates?

Whether you’ve recently moved into your new neighborhood or you’ve been there for most of the summer, it is nice to hold a BBQ or invite the neighbors over for drinks or dessert, so that your children (and you) can get to meet and make some friends before the school year starts. Neighbors can become instant, life-long friends who are sure to make the first bus ride and first day of school a breeze for your kids.

If they’re not able to make new friends before starting their first day of school in a new district, research suggests that a child’s temperament has everything to do with how they will react to the change. If your child is an easy adapter, they may need little or no help in making the adjustment. If you’ve noticed that your child has a harder time adjusting to new situations, they may need a little nurturing and practicing before the school year starts.

By teaching your children these few “how to’s” you can help them smoothly transition into a new school district:

  1. How to get to and from school. Giving your kids a heads up on their surroundings will help them feel like they already belong. If a new friend strikes up a conversation about something they see on the way to school, your child will feel comfortable knowing they are able to join in and talk about their surroundings.
  2. How to get to and from class. If possible, take your kids on a tour of their new school and talk with their teachers and other administrative personnel that they may interact with on a regular basis. Knowing where they are going and seeing some friendly, familiar faces around school may make their first day back to class a little smoother.
  3. How to stay positive. Entering any new situation is difficult, but a positive attitude goes a long way to ease anxiety. Talk to your children about their first day of school in a new school district. Let them know that other children are facing the same concerns and reassure them that the new school year will be a great opportunity to meet new friends and learn new things.
  4. How to get involved. As the old saying goes… “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” While your kids may not be trying to “beat” their new classmates at anything, a great way for them to get to know new students is to join some clubs, sports or other activities. Again, when students share common interests, anxiety fades away fast.
  5. How to be prepared. As silly as it may sound, you will want to make sure that your kids have all their needed school supplies before they head back to class in a new school district. When you’re the new kid, you certainly don’t want to be singled out because you are missing something. As the big day approaches, have everything packed and ready, so that your child’s first day is stress-free from the time that they wake up.

With just a little preparation ahead of time, the only other thing your kids will need to ensure a great start in a new school district is a little extra TLC. Send them off on their first day with something special, like an added treat or an encouraging note in their lunch. Before they (and you) know it, the weeks and months will pass and you’ll all feel right at home in your new house and school district.