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Starting a New School? How to Make the Transition Easier for Your Kids

 

Starting a new school is a big step for a little kid. How can you make the transition easier? Here are some ideas.

Be Prepared

Go into the transition as well-prepared as possible. This involves having your children's medical and dental records up-to-date for the new school.

Review all the information on the new school that you can get. Check out their website so you will be familiar with their policies and contact information. Mark starting and ending dates on your calendar, along with vacation days.

Does the school list needed supplies? Don't assume that your child's supplies from her previous school will be the same as supplies needed at the new school. If you need some things, take your child along to shop for them. This will help her take some ownership of her new school environment.

Establish a Good Home Routine

Starting a new school is an excellent time to establish or reinforce a routine for getting to bed on time and getting up on time as well. Insist on a healthy breakfast for your children and a reasonable bedtime at night. Set aside blocks of time for homework; this will reduce the complaining each evening.

If your child has extra-curricular activities, list these on a large planner that the entire family has easy access to. Your child will be able to see at a glance what is going on each day and week, and this will help him feel more secure.

Visit the School

If possible, visit the school with your child before his first day there. Call the school and explain your situation; most are very willing to help a new student feel comfortable. Try to meet your child's teacher. You may even want to schedule a brief conference with the teacher to tell her a little about your child and his educational history so far.

Be positive and polite; your attitude and demeanor will help create the teacher's first impression of your children. Do your best to represent them as positively as you can. Ask for ways you can help in the classroom during the year. If you feel it would be helpful to your child, ask the teacher if she could assign a "buddy" for your child during his first week at the school. This can help your child make new friends more easily and "learn the ropes" of the new classroom from a peer.

Be Gentle That First Week

During the first week in the new school, be gentle with your kids. Leave plenty of "margin," or extra time for homework, questions, or just unstructured family time together. Kids tend to be at their most fragile during times of transition such as this, so it's definitely not the time to begin a new sport, dance class and piano lessons.

Make sure your kids have their alarm clocks set each night, give a little extra help with homework, and review assignment notebooks they bring home.

Starting a new school can be stressful, but if you "do your homework," you can make the transition easier for your kids.

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Susan Braun is a freelance writer living with her husband, three daughters, 2 rabbits, 2 gerbils and hedgehog in Indiana.  She writes at girlsinwhitedresses.wordpress.com and Associated Content.

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