Whether you’re a military family, switching jobs in your household, or just want a change of scenery, moving schools is one of the most stressful experiences in a child’s short life. They’ll have to make entirely new friends, meet different teachers, and adjust to a new class schedule on top of the normal stresses of moving. With all that on their plate, no wonder they’re stressed out!
By my senior year of high school, I had been to half a dozen elementary and middle schools, a charter school, two online schools, four public high schools, and three community colleges. It took months for my counselor to help prepare my patchwork transcript to be sent to university, and even then, I lost several Advanced Placement credits because previous schools had omitted the AP prefix.
Make sure you and your kiddo are prepared for this new experience, as it can be one of the most stressful of their young life!
Hassle Free Move
School visits, meeting teachers, talking with counselors about class schedule, and buying supplies – moving to a new school is hard for the whole family.
Arrange a school visit before deciding on a school. Ask about class size, school values, extracurricular activities, or questions relating to your child’s unique situation like special needs or gifted classes. Meet with the teachers and get their contact information, so you can get in touch in case you have any questions or concerns later on.
Classes at the new school will likely be learning different things than what your child was learning. They’ll have to adjust to new classes and new curriculum. Talk with counselors to determine the class schedule that would be the most similar to their previous one. Consider advanced classes if they are ahead of the class, or tutoring if they are behind.
“Sometimes moving to a new school can be a “fresh start” for kids. Moving to a smaller school can also be a plus because they’ll have smaller classes, can get to know teachers easier, and can participate in more activities, such as sports,” said Rhonda Britzman, a counselor for the Lead-Deadwood School District, when explaining some benefits of moving schools. “But sometimes the smaller school aspect does not allow for as many course options.”
Before their first day, buy new school clothes and supplies, if necessary, so they can start off on a good foot. Nice clothes do wonders for a child’s confidence! On the first day, offer to walk them to class or, if they ride the bus, offer to drive them for the first few days. Let them make the decision.
Parents can get involved in the school by volunteering or joining the PTA. This allows you to stay ‘in-the-know’ with important things going on at the school. Many schools send out a monthly newsletter with important information, so make sure your email is on the list, if applicable.
Keep transcripts from previous schools together and keep the contact info of previous counselors. If an issue arises or the new school needs to sort out anything, you can easily give them a call.