Back to school time brings feelings that range from excitement to trepidation. Getting our kids ready to start school can be a challenge for some and for kids who have moved to a new school, it’s a double-whammy.
Older elementary and middle schoolers are increasingly more social. They want to hang out with friends and school is bound to get in the way of their burgeoning social life. For kids who have moved, that social support system is gone…or at least not there to greet them on the first day of school. Encourage your child to look for clubs they can join to help meet friends with similar interests. Practice with them to give them a script for how they’ll introduce themselves and create a conversation with peers to begin to develop new relationships.
If you have one of those not-so-happy-to-go-back-to-school kids in your home, help them focus on what they DO like about school. Talk gently yet persuasively about the importance of education but help them focus on areas of enjoyment (possibly electives) so they can see the fun within the “drudgery” of the school day.
It’s natural for routines to relax (or even disappear) during summer break. Get routines back on track as quickly as possible to provide some stability and familiarity. Designate a place for school items (back packs, lunch boxes/lunch money, permission slips, etc.). Talk with kids about the energy drain of the first week of school. Plan time in the schedule for them to relax, and possibly nap, after school. A little extra down time helps reduce the stress of the transition.
Don’t forget to bring the fun. Summer time is time for play and relaxation, but that doesn’t have to stop just because school has started. Make sure to keep fun activities on the front burner, and encourage them to invite friends when appropriate. Being the new kids in someone else’s “territory” is hard. Give your kids the chance to be in their “natural habitat” while developing new friendships after a move.
For nine great ways to help your kids (and you!) get ready to go back to school, click here.
No parent should move without a written game plan to help your children deal with the difficulties they face when moving.
For more information about the Moving Families Initative, please visit www.movingfamiliesinitiative.com.