How To Make Switching Schools Easier
Changing schools is a really big deal for children. Not only is switching schools a big deal to your child consciously, but subconsciously as well. With so many changes going on to them and around them, such a change can have a major impact whether they realize it or not.
But, there are ways to make this type of transition a little easier – both for your child and for you and the rest of the family. Here are a few tips for making transferring schools easier:
Start transfer conversations as early as possible
It’s one thing if you’re making a speedy transition – for example, if your family is moving with a short timeline – but most of the time, switching schools involves a process of consideration and deliberation over time. However, all too often parents keep the majority of the conversation between themselves.
In the end it may not be up to your child, but including them in the conversations will help your child feel more included and empowered in the situation and inevitably more comfortable with it. Starting conversations sooner also allows your child to ask all the questions needed to understand the decision, the process and what it means for the future. You may find – even if your child is against it at first – that with time they grow excited about the change.
Maintain your child’s existing relationships with friends
One of the most difficult parts of transferring schools for a child is that they’re forced to leave their friends. Even if the school is nearby, the thought of not being with their friends on a daily basis can seem devastating.
But it doesn’t have to be that way (at least not completely). The transition will be easier if you make an effort to ensure that they keep in touch with their friends from the past school. Reassure them that they’ll be able to stay in touch with all of their friends (assuming that’s not part of the reason for the transfer). You can even go as far as scheduling out dates for them to see their friends after the transition, which works especially well for younger children.
Continue conversations with your child during and after the transfer
It’s critical to continue conversations with your child during and after the transition to the new school. Many children internalize the experience, especially if they’re unhappy about the change. But this is typically the most stressful part of the process and when they need your support the most, even if they don’t act like it. In many cases, you’ll have to be the one to start conversations and continue to check in.
It’s also helpful to build good relationships with teachers, administrators and other adults in the school to get their opinions about how your child is doing. It can even be valuable to talk to their friends – from the new school and the old school – to see what their perception is of the transition and how your child is handling it.
Good communication is key for a smooth school transition
Whether it’s you talking to your child on a regular basis to see how things are going or it’s making sure your child is able to stay in touch with friends from former schools, maintaining strong and open lines of communication for your child (and you) is critical for providing an easy switch from one school to the next.
Start conversations early, maintain your child’s relationships, and establish good lines of communication at your child’s new school and you’ll make switching schools as seamless as possible.