In most situations, kids are a lot more adaptable and resilient than we are. But moving to a new home and a new school may be one of the few occasions when they are not. We may find it exciting, but it’s not so much that way for kids. For they are leaving friends and the familiar and are facing the (possibly frightening) unknown. Here, then, are some tips, both general and new school-specific, you can use to help your kids adjust after a move.
Make it Exciting
An important element of helping your kids adjust after a move is making the whole thing seem exciting. For younger children, you can make it seem like an adventure by explaining to them that they’ll be just like explorers or pioneers setting out to uncharted lands. You can also engage your kids by encouraging them to make their own plans for the move, including new things they’ll do and try when they arrive at the new home.
Keep Normal Routines
A hugely important part of helping kids adjust after a move involves sticking to the old routines – observing what is normal and familiar. If you usually gather around the dining-room table for the evening meal, then keep doing it. Or if you have regular family game nights, continue those as well. It could be something smaller, too, such as sticking to normal bedtimes or standard curfews. Just try to bring some consistency and normalcy to the new home so that your kids accept it as home.
And don’t be alarmed at setbacks or occasional regressions. The adjustment may seem to be moving along smoothly, but, still, it’s seldom an unwavering linear progression. Kids have to be allowed to adjust after a move at their own pace, and that often involves some occasional backsliding.
Visit the School Before the First Day
Walking into any new place or setting for the first time is always something of a shock. To lessen the impact of this first-time shock, visit the school with your kids before school starts. Tour the school with them and encourage them to ask questions. This pre-visit will go a long way toward helping your kids deal with first-day jitters.
Help Them Learn the Route
For smaller kids especially, another good way to help them adjust after a move, with respect to school, is to make sure they know the route and are familiar with the transportation. If your kids will be walking to school, then knowing the route will definitely make them more comfortable and decrease their worries. If they ride a bus, make sure they know exactly where the bus will pick them up and at what time. Anything you can do to lessen the fear and worry will help your kids transition smoothly into their new school after a move.
Accompany Your Child(ren) the First Day
Of course, your teens won’t want you to do this, but your smaller kids will appreciate it. Just go with them on the first day of school – because you will likely be the only person they know at that point. You can introduce your child(ren) to the teacher(s) and so reduce first-day anxiety significantly.
Moving can be a fairly traumatic experience for kids, even older ones. You can, however, help your kids adjust after a move and ease the transition if you use the strategies in our tips above. Still, it can be an ongoing process spread out over several months, so you’ll need some persistence.