To begin with a rather obvious truth, moving is a stressful affair. And yet, we choose to embark upon it so we can find better places to live, be closer to work, family, to satisfy yearn of adventure, etc. All of these reasons make it worth it for us to deal with hiring movers, packing things and all the other troubles of moving. But, this is only true for adults, for those who actually make the decision to move. Children often cannot see any valid reasons to move. Why leave their friends and town behind? Their home and school? For them, benefits are not obvious, and stresses are many. They will once again be “the new kid” in school, and this is for most their biggest fear. It is for that reason that we need to help kids adapt to a new school.
Know your child
So, the first step in wanting to help kids adapt to a new school? Know the kids! No two persons are alike, and that goes for children as well. Yes, there are some general habits and traits that can fit them into groups such as introverted, playful, shy, etc, there are some quirks that will simply always make them special. There are only so few people that know those quirks, and parents know them best.
So, if you are planning on moving out of NYC with your child, make sure that you take all advice on how to prepare them for the move and new school with some reservation. After all, nobody can truly know your kid better than you. Some of them require some special things nobody online could think off. So, listen to the general bits of advice, but be aware of how they influence your particular situation.
Difficulties of a move
So, before we move to a specific challenge of helping them adapt to their new school, we should go over some more general issues associated with moving with kids. If you fail to address these, you might just find that helping them with school turns useless as there are problems of higher priority involved.
As we all know (and are proud of), kids grow. From cute little baby you moved to NYC with to a grown up girl or a boy, they changed. It is not hard to imagine that moving with a baby NYC is different than doing the same thing with a thirteen-year-old boy. So, let us see how age differences affect the move.
There are developmental stages (or ages) of a journey from infancy to adulthood This greatly impacts how children react to a certain situation. For example, a preteen won’t react to a new school environment the same way as a teenager.
For small children, maybe somewhat surprisingly, the whole new school experience goes a lot easier. For them, home is where the family is. Yes, losing old friends is hard, but making new is easier and you can be assured that they will soon find their new home to be every bit as good as the old one. For teenagers, however, who naturally base their identity around their social group and their network of friends, this will go a little bit harder, and you will need to help them adapt to their new school.
Give them agency
Kids don’t choose to move and they don’t see much rhyme or reason for this move. You can’t do much about this fact, but you can mitigate the consequences of confusion and fear by doing two things. Firstly, be sure to project confidence. If they see you are sure of your decision, they will be at ease. They didn’t talk to Brooklyn Heights movers over the phone and they do not know the details, but if you do, they will pick up on that.
Secondly, give them something to do. Encourage them to look up and research the school they will be attending. This will give them agency in the process in which previously they had none.
- Let them see the new school before attending to help kids adapt to a new school;
- Help them to research your new place and home;
- See what fun activities you can have at your new location with them;
- Let them be part of the packing process.
Try, to the best of your abilities and in regard to your particular situation, to introduce the “no friends left behind” policy. When interstate moving companies NYC come and pick you up, be sure to stay in contact with moms of children that will say their goodbyes to your kids. While your priority is to help kids adapt to a new school, you still want them to keep their old friends.
When you are little, saying goodbye to a friend can seem like the same thing as them being gone for good. Be sure to prevent that from happening
Help kids adapt to a new school – what they want
Finally, we come to the most concrete part of our advice. How to help kids adapt to a new school? Two things for your consideration:
You are the parent, the adult. And you can do the thing your children can’t: To scout the school, talk to the principal and the teachers, research what books are needed and how the curriculum is taught. You can do things that will immeasurably help your child adapt.
Never do something without them wanting it. Yes, some children don’t express their wishes openly, but you can always pick on ques. And if they ask for you not to follow them to the school on the first day, for example, do not be distressed. It is normal that they would or wouldn’t want something like that. It is not the denial of help, it is simply that they want to be introduced to their new school on their own terms.
And, the final bit of advice: Be patient when attempting to help kids adapt to a new school. Let them pick the speed at which they are going, and don’t be imagining the worst-case scenarios if they don’t immediately find new friends. Such things cannot be forced. They need time. You can do everything to help, and then just be patient to see the results.