I’ve been the new kid on the block many times. From city to city, and country to country, I’ve gone through being the new girl/woman in town. It’s an exciting time, but it’s also daunting — and even more so for children.
They depend greatly on their parents for enrollment in schools, introductions, and spending the time to join them in activities that will help them make friends and get used to a new environment. Kids want to fit in and feel accepted.
Here are a few ways to make that happen.
1) Make Friends in the New Neighborhood
Introduce youself and your children to your neighbors and encourage get-togethers with children of similar ages who will be attending the same school. Enroll your children in local summer camps and, better still, camps organized by the school your child will be attending.
Invite kids over after camp. Take your children to the local parks. Doing this can lay the groundwork to help ease the transition into school.
2) Attend Orientation with Your Children
It’s important that your children don’t enter the school building blindly, with no idea where to go. Going back to school is daunting for even the most seasoned kids, but when you feel like a stranger, it can be terrifying for a child.
Education.com has some great advice, based on an interview with the founder of NewsforParents.org: “Include your kids in the process,” suggests Debbie Glasser, Ph.D and founder of NewsForParents.org, who moved three children to a new state.
“Attend the school orientation together and/or arrange for a tour. Older children might appreciate the opportunity to follow their schedule -- walking from the bus loop to the locker to each class. Also, be sure to point out the bathrooms, cafeteria and auditorium.
“Younger children might benefit from a few visits to the new school. Most schools will assign a ‘buddy’ to assist your child during the first few days or weeks. If you think this is something your child would benefit from, talk with the guidance counselor. Knowing where things are should alleviate some of your child’s fears.”