How to make going to a new school easier on your child

Our family of five is facing an extra challenge getting ready to head back-to-school this fall: we’re moving.

Between the new house, new school, and brand new city on the horizon, my three school-aged kids have a lot of worries on their young minds.

New beginning: Moving to a new province can be worrisome for little ones.

New beginning: Moving to a new province can be worrisome for little ones.

But with a few tweaks to our regular back-to-school routine, I’m finding ways to ease their anxiety and smooth the transition as the new school year approaches.

Here are just a few ideas to help any parent that has a child going to a new school:

1) Involve the kids. Whether it’s grocery shopping for lunches, labelling supplies, or in our case, packing up their rooms, the more control the kids have in getting ready, the less nervous they feel about the unknown.

2) Visit the school. This year especially, I booked an informal tour at our new school. So while my kids are still anxious about making new friends, they’re relieved to at least know where to go for lunch and how to find the bathrooms.

3) Honour their feelings. Whether its sadness, worry, anger or excitement, I’ve learned to bite my tongue and let my kids express whatever they’re feeling about starting over at a new school. With a little empathy and plenty of patience, our kids are learning how to handle missing their old friends and routines, while making room for brand new ones.

Carmen Kinniburgh

Carmen Kinniburgh is a freelance writer and editor exploring topics and ideas about parenting and families, Canadian science and research, health and medicine, as well as travel and lifestyle. Born and raised in Alberta, Carmen has also lived in Southern Ontario and Manitoba, where she worked in professional communications for a university and a national health charity. Currently living in Thunder Bay, Ontario, she gets all her best ideas and insights for Parentwise from her own three delightfully precocious children.

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