August is just around the corner, which means it’s about time kiddos trade pool days for school days. The start of a new school year often causes some nerves—in kids and parents. For families who move frequently—a parent in the armed forces receives a PCS Order, or a new business opportunity arises in another city—relocating means enrolling the kids in a brand-new school.
Follow these 7 tips for easing your mind as you prepare the kids (and yourself) to start school in a new city. (Warning: It’s going to require some homework before school even starts.)
New School Tip #1 Do Your Homework
Well before the first day of school, you should be familiar with the kids’ new school—from dress code, to teachers’ names and contact information, for K-8 students.
- Read up on the school’s mission and values, and try to find similarities to the kids’ previous school and relay that to them. There’s comfort in familiarity!
- Drive from your new home to school with the kids, so they can get a feel for how to get back and forth. If you live close enough, walk to school with them on their first day or two. If they’re taking the bus, make sure you know where the stop is, and what time they need to be there!
- Arrange for a tour of the new school for the kids. Some schools offer a “new student orientation”, which would allow the kids to meet new classmates in the same boat as them.
New School Tip #2 Make New Friends
- Introduce yourself to your new neighbors. If they don’t have children, ask about which people in the neighborhood do.
- Plan a playdate, or if the kids are older, a barbeque or pool party so your kids can meet and have a familiar face at their new school. It’s helpful for parents, too, to go into the school year knowing a few fellow parents.
- Call the school and see if they have any resources for new families.
New School Tip #3 …But Keep The Old
With so many changes, it is important to help your kids maintain the friendships they had in your previous city. Sure, older kids will “snap” each other throughout the day, or exchange 100 iMessages before 3rd period, but there’s value in verbal communication and in-person reunions.
- For younger kiddos, coordinate a time with their friends’ parents that the kids can talk over the phone—they will be thrilled to exchange stories about their day, shared experiences, etc. and your child will find great comfort in hearing a familiar voice.
- Encourage middle school-high school aged kids to pick a weekend that their old friends can come visit your new home. It will give them something to look forward to, and also encourage them to seek the positive aspects of your new city (so they can show it off to their friends!)
New School Tip #4 Get Involved
A great way to get acclimated to a new school is to join some type of extracurricular, whether it’s a sports team or club.
- Reach out to the school for a list of extracurricular activities. Talk to your kids about what activities interest them. Even if they’re uninterested, insist on them choosing at least one activity to participate in outside of school. This will help them make new friends and become more comfortable in their new environment. Keep in mind that some may require summer enrollment, so stay on top of it!
- For parents, joining the PTO or other parent leadership group can be a great way to get to know your child’s new school quickly, and also meet people. Don’t have the time to commit to joining the PTO? Follow the school’s Facebook page or Twitter account to stay up to speed with news.
- Offer your skills! If you enjoy photography, offer to take pictures at the school’s next event. Love to read? Volunteer to read in your child’s classroom, and instantly connect with the teacher and your child’s peers.
- Join a carpool. This is a great, and often entertaining way to gain insight on your kids’ and their new friends—you might even learn the latest dance craze.
New School Tip # 5 Ask For Help
Even with careful planning and your best intentions, starting a new school can be really difficult for kids of all ages. Consider reaching out to the new school’s guidance counselors to give them a heads up that your kids are dealing with two major changes: a new school and a new city. Having someone aware of the situation who is at school every day will be of comfort to you and your kids.
New School Tip #6 Practice Your Listening Skills
Maintain open and honest communication with your kids. Facilitate conversations with them before and after they start at their new school, and make sure they know they can express their worries or questions with you.
New School Tip #7 Take a Deep Breath…and RELAX.
In the midst of change and trying to maintain a smooth transition for your kids, it’s important to remember to remain calm—and relax. As parents, we often forget that our kiddos are super resilient…and we often worry more than they do. Also, if you remain calm and positive, it will make the kids feel better—and they too will feel more relaxed. For the worriers out there, fake it til you make it and put a smile on your face for the kiddos!
At VegasOne Realty, we are client-driven and client-focused. We are here to help you find the perfect home with easy access to great schools for your family. Start by checking out our neighborhood guides, then learn more about how we can help you buy, sell, rent, or relocate!