Class Act - 6 ways to help your child handle the ordeal of changing schools

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The idea of change is intimidating to adults and kids alike, mostly because it requires you to step out of your comfort zone into unchartered territories. But change is also a way to start afresh. Changing schools is almost always a difficult time for kids as well as you as parents. Most kids react in a negative way when confronted with such a situation; with tantrums, bouts of depression etc as a response to this situation. From a child’s perspective, it is a scary and unsettling situation, as he is expected to leave behind his friends and his comfort zone and move to a place where he is virtually a stranger.

But remember that your child is inherently resilient and adapt to change more quickly than adults. The trick is to ensure that he is mentally ready to embrace the change. Here are 5 ways in which you can support your child during this difficult time and help him ease him into the new school.

Talk the talk: The most important thing that you can do at this stage as a parent is to sit down with your child and talk about the changes that is happening in your family. This becomes even more imperative if you are moving to a different city. Talk to him openly and honestly about why you need to relocate, and the reasons that you have chosen a particular school. Encourage him to open up about his concerns and fears. This way you will be able to know what is going on in his mind and help him better. Talk to him about how the change is going to affect you and discuss ways to cope up with it.

Do some pre work:  Get as much information as possible about the new school? If possible, visit the school with your child before classes actually commence. Get him to meet the teacher or principal. Talk to him about the school’s values, the routines the students are expected to follow etc. Find out some activity that he likes that the school encourages. This gives him something to look forward to.

Be positive yourself: You cannot go around lamenting about having to relocate and expect your child to be enthusiastic about joining a new school. Always keep in mind that your child will take a cue from your reactions. So if you are calm and positive about the change, he will be reauured to a certain extent. Infuse the sense of excitement and a sense of adventure to the whole process. Sometimes a change in perspective can really make a lot of difference to your child’s attitude towards the whole process.

Prepare him for the change: Ease him into the new routines. For instance, if the new school starts an hour earlier than his previous school, ensure that your child starts getting up earlier in 15 minutes slots so that he is ready to be up at that hour when school actually starts. Get him acquainted with a couple of kids in his new class by arranging play dates. Having friends in class will help him settle down more quickly.

Limit your expectations: Your child may still take time to settle down and may resort to tantrums. Stay calm and give him the opportunity to settle down. Keep your goodbyes short, brisk and trust the teacher to handle your child. Wait outside the gate to pick him up and arrange something for him to look forward to when he gets back home.