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How can I help my child cope with moving to a new school?

Erik Fisher
Psychology
The following are tips on how to help your child cope with moving to a new school:
  1. Take your child's temperament into account. If you know your child is "hard-wired" to adjust slowly to change, don't blame them when they do. Be a calm, reassuring agent of support to them. Model problem-solving skills, calm self-talk, and address the challenges, don't avoid them.
  2. Prepare your child for change. If your child is starting in a new school this year, talk to him about his feelings and let him know it is okay to feel afraid. You don't want your kids to let their fears build up inside. If they are starting in a new school in the next year or so, make sure you start talking about the change in the preceding spring.
  3. Take them to the new school and walk around with them. Show them where their classes may be, and try to have them meet their teachers, principal and/or counselor.
  4. Sometimes kids won't tell you if they have been bullied in school because they may feel afraid or embarrassed. Be sure to ask them questions about why they feel so uncomfortable about changing schools, and let them know that no matter what the reason, you will love them and support them and it is important to tell the truth.
  5. Visual imagery and relaxation is a great tool to help kids to adopt in many areas of life and may be helpful to use with your child in this situation. Have them visualize themselves going to school and feeling comfortable and secure, dealing with challenges and difficulties confidently and asking for support when necessary. You may need to do some pre-work and/or seek someone with experience if you do this, but it can be very powerful.
  6. If your child has difficulties as the school year starts, keep in touch with the teachers and be patient. Ask your kids how they are doing and help them build strategies to deal with their stress. Don't punish your child because of their fears and your frustration.
  7. Keep your cool, be supportive and become part of the solution. If you are having a tough time with your child's issues try to step back. If these situations bring up some of your own issues, find someone who can help you talk them through.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.