1. Arrange to go into the school
There’s no substitute for seeing a new school in person, so it’s well worth arranging a visit so your children can meet the teachers, familiarise themselves with the building, and ask any questions they may have. Some schools even arrange settling-in sessions for new pupils, so make sure you are proactive in contacting the school and discussing any concerns you or your children may have.
2. Involve your child in local clubs
If you’re moving to a new area, you can get your child involved in the local community before school even starts by taking them to the park, signing up to clubs and attending events where they can meet new friends. It can be easier for your child to initially make connections outside of the classroom, so encourage them to pursue their interests and find new friends in the process.
3. Don’t forget their old friends
Children are often understandably upset by leaving their current friends, so make sure you reassure them that you’ll make the time to visit your old area. You could even encourage them to become pen pals, so existing friendships can be maintained in a fun and meaningful way. When children feel like they’re not losing their friends, they’ll feel more confident in their new school.
4. Buy books
For younger children, books are a great source of comfort, especially when tackling the ‘big feelings’ that new situations can bring. Do some research online, and invest in one or two books that explore new experiences, new friends and moving home.
5. Time your move carefully
If possible, try and time your move in the school holidays so your children can get to know the local area before starting school. Over the summer there are often lots of family-friendly events in the community, which will help them to settle and start recognising new faces.
6. Try not to worry
Parents often feel more anxious than their children do when moving to a new school, so remember that children are adaptable and it won’t take long for them to settle in. Try to be as relaxed and optimistic as possible, and take the time to answer your children’s questions and allay any fears they may have.
Talk to friends who have been through the same thing, and make sure you and your partner have an open dialogue. The more support you have from other adults, the better.