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dgraab
dgraab , Parent asks:
Q:

How to optimize move to a new school for a 2nd grader?

This fall, we are switching schools for our daughter due to a move into a new neighborhood. She will be going into second grade, and the new school is one of the best performing public elementary schools in our town, has an active PTA/parent community, and offers a clean, safe, ocean-view campus.

Unfortunately, though, our daughter has been tearful at the thought of not being at her current school with the kids, teachers and school community she's known since kindergarten. Thankfully at the new school, there are 7 kids she's known since she was a baby (they are close family friends), and that's brought some reassurances for her that things are going to be ok.

Do you have other suggestions for how we can optimize this transition for our daughter?

I've read the Education.com article, When Families Move: Helping Children Adjust, by the NYU Child Study Center ( http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_... ), so will be taking that advice into account as well.

What else do you suggest?  
In Topics: Back to school, Parenting / Our Family, Children and stress
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Hand in Hand
Jun 2, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

You might be interested in some of the ideas in our article "Ease the Transition to a New Home." Many of them will apply to changing schools as well. Your daughter already has the most important thing she needs to move through this transition, a caring parent who is thinking about her and ready to help her adjust.
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kat_eden
May 18, 2009
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Best Answer!

what's this?
from a fellow member
Hi Denise,

We moved our son to a new school last year (6 years old) and he had a pretty similar reaction. Keep in mind that kids typically don't like change but they're really really good at it!

A few things I'd suggest to help make the transition easier:

First, don't ignore the fact that this is a really hard/scary idea. Instead of saying "don't worry...it's going to be great!", acknowledge her feelings by saying things like "I know it makes you sad to think about leaving your school. And I bet it's scary to think about starting at a new school". And then help her think about all the really positive things about the new school (she already has great friends there, the teachers are really great, she'll be able to see the ocean every day..etc etc).

Second, it might be helpful for her to spend some time at the new school before summer break. I bet if you call the principal she'd be happy to have your daughter come for lunch and recess one day (with you). Maybe she could even tour the classrooms she'll be in next year. That way, when she's thinking about the school over summer, it's not a big scary unknown - it's a place she's been to!

Finally, assure her that you'll do all you can to help her keep her old friends. Help her make her own address book with contact info from her current classmates. Even if she never ends up calling them (which is actually likely once she gets a whole new group of friends at her new school) it will make her feel better to know she doesn't have to give them up.

Hope this helps!

Kat

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Additional Answers (2)

Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
The winds of change have often been frowned upon and some kids welcome it with open arms and others are more grounded. I would first schedule an appointment with the school and ask them if they can give your child a tour this summer. Take her out to the playground and play for a couple of Saturdays. This is a good way to get on the child's level. Another thing would be to make sure she has a chance to bid old buddies farewell. An after-school/moving party is a good idea. Maybe you could work out a special arrangement with the present school to give out invitations. Finally, a good book about moving would reassure her too. I think of one off the top of my head but there is one that the Girl Scouts issued about moving.

http://www.girlscoutshop.com/GSUSAOnline
/GSProductDetails.aspx?ProductID=Brownie%2fJunior+Girl+Scout+Let%2
7s+Get+Movin%27+Booklet%3a+New+Address...New+Friends

"New Address...New Friends"
Even though its a Brownie book, you can still order yourself off the site. Also, it comes with a special patch ;)
> 60 days ago

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socialworker
socialworker writes:
Try reading "Harry the Happy Caterpillar Grows" with your child.The story centers on Harry,a caterpillar that has a fantastic life full of games, friends, school and leaf eating. He is stunned when, one day at caterpillar school, he learns that he is expected to  build a chrysalis and become a butterfly. Harry vows to remain a caterpillar forever, as his friends build their chrysalises and move on.  Eventually, Harry  learns to accept change as a necessary part of life, and  joins his friends as a butterfly. There are tips in the back of the book to help parents and educators use the story as a vehicle to help kids talk about their feelings about change, and teach them coping strategies to manage their anxiety.
> 60 days ago

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