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Young Kids Changing Schools
Change is hard for any young child, but when that change is a change in schools it can be quite difficult for your elementary student to cope. There are many aspects to changing schools that can make your child excited, scared and anxious, probably all at the same time. In order to make the transition as easy as possible, there are a few things that you can do to help.
• Talk to your child and allow him or her to vent any feelings they may have. Parents have a tendency to want to make everything "better" for their children and they end up not allowing them to air their true feelings. Although it may be hard and painful to listen to, let your child express his or her fears, concerns and anger.
• Attempt to anticipate and solve any problems. If your child is afraid that they will lose track of an old friend, buy them cool stationary in which to write letters on. Or, perhaps you can purchase them a prepaid phone call so that can call often during the first few weeks after the move.
• Arrange for a visit to the new school well in advance. Visiting the news school before you even move will give your child a chance envision going there and even share what she discovered with her old friends. Plus, meeting her new teacher and actually seeing what her new environment will look like will help to lessen her fears of the unknown.
• Call ahead and ask the school about any programs or classes that they have. Some schools offer extracurricular activities that your child might enjoy. By signing him or her up for these, you will give them something to be excited about. Also, make sure that you have your child placed in the right level of studies. If your child is placed in a class that is too hard, he or she is likely to suffer additional anxiety.
• Be patient with your child. Transition takes time. Do not rush your child or make them feel bad for not jumping in right away. Children that are allowed to adjust on their own timeframe usually fare better than those that are forced to hurry.
• Watch your child for signs that he or she is having problems. Change can sometimes be too hard for a child to handle on their own. If you see signs of depression or withdraw in your child, seek the advice of your pediatrician or the school counselor.
• Find your child a buddy for the first day at a new school. Elementary age children seem to fare better if the have a friend to introduce them around the school. If possible, try to introduce your child to this friend before school starts. If that is not possible, at least arrange for the buddy to shadow your child for the first few days at school.
• Learn their new school schedule in advance. If your child knows what to expect, like what time lunch is, if snacks are given and what classes they will be taken, they can better prepare themselves for the first day.
• Don't let your child see your anxiety. If you are nervous about their new school or how they are going to react, these feelings can rub off on your child. If they see that you are nervous, that will make them nervous also. Adopt a positive attitude and share it with your child.
• Let your child lead. Your child may be ok on the first day and simple want you to drop them off. Other children may need a bit more reassurance and request that you walk them in. Which ever option your child chooses go with their decision. Just be ready to make your exit when you feel the time is right. If you stay too long, you may fuel your child's anxiety.
Early preparation will not cure all of your child's uneasiness, but the more you can do to ease them into the situation, the better.
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