Kids like familiar routines. So, when a grade change means a change in school — from elementary to middle school, for instance — or when a family move means a new school district at any time of the year, children are likely to experience some degree of anxiety.
Mom and Dad can take steps to help ease the transition for their children, say the experts at the nonprofit GreatSchools.org.
Each type of transition has its own set of concerns, but may include adjustments such as getting used to a new building or following a longer class schedule with more challenging homework. Starting middle school might bring new social pressures from older students, while high school often means being more self-directed and using more organizational skills.
Talk about these changes with your children as soon as possible. Ask what they might be anxious about and work to resolve those issues. Try simple things to reassure them. For instance, younger kids might appreciate little notes of encouragement tucked into their knapsacks.
Be sure to attend any orientation sessions. This is a great opportunity for everyone in the family to get comfortable with new school surroundings, teacher expectations and the administrative staff.
Drive the new route to school to make it more familiar. And ask your children about new types of assignments they may need help with — but don’t do the work for them.
Involve teachers, if necessary.
If the whole family is going through a transition, like a move to a new town, let the new school staff know. Having an open dialogue with administrators will help kids adjust more easily.
GreatSchools.org has a list of tips for parents to make a new school transition a positive experience for kids.