Helping your Child Adjust to a New School

School can become like a second home for children of any age, a place to make friends and discover new talents. Changing schools in the middle of the year, or even over the summer break, can be scary. The information below offers some ideas for helping your children smoothly transition to a brand new school.

• Focus on the positive. Although changing schools can lead to anxiety and worry, help your child focus on the positive side of the move. It’s a chance to start over, meet new people, and learn new things.

• Learn as much as you can about your child’s new school and share this information with the family. Find out what the new school looks like, how many children are in each class, even what they are learning. In addition, see what the school offers that your child will be excited about, like a good art program or a certain sport. This may help alleviate some of your child’s fears.

• Get involved. Is there any way to visit the school before your child attends? Can your child get a tour of the school before school starts? Can your child meet or email with the new teacher or a student ahead of time? Can you arrange to have your child meet someone who already attends the school? The more familiar you can make the school, the easier it will be when your child begins attending.

Make extra time. Your child is going to have some concerns and questions about the new school. Make yourself available to answer these questions and listen to their concerns. Especially on the first day of school, make arrangements to be there to support your child if at all possible.

• Plan something special. Even without a lot of money, come up with something special for your child’s first day(s) at school. A couple of new outfits or a new backpack can help your child get excited about the new school. Take them out for pizza or ice cream after their first day. These little things can go a long way.

• Get help if needed. If your child continues to struggle with the transition, the Child & Youth Behavioral Military & Family Life Consultant (CYB MFLC) at the Airman and Family Readiness Center can help. You can schedule an appointment with one of these licensed professionals who specialize in child and youth behavioral issues by calling 605-519-0937.