Being the “new kid” at school can sound frightening for both the child and parent combined. A new school means having new experiences, meeting new friends and being in a new environment. Although moving can be a stressful process, it is often helpful to encourage your child to be excited about the new town. The appearance of nerves and butterflies are common as the first day of school approaches, but don’t let them become overwhelming feelings for your child.
Before the School Year
Before the school year begins, a terrific way to introduce your child to the district is by scheduling a tour. Often, schools are open to giving a tour of the grounds and facilities to the new family in town, typically about a week or two before school officially opens. Becoming familiar with the surroundings and environment can help ease the nerves and apprehension your child might have in attending a new school.
Although being labeled the “new kid” might sound bad, it doesn’t always have to be, and there are ways to avoid the stigma that’s sometimes attached to that label. For some children, it is easy to make friends and introduce themselves to new people and for others, it isn’t. One way to avoid being labeled the new kid is by being the first one to introduce yourself, so the other children build a sense of familiarity. Usually, the new kid gets a lot of attention because everyone is curious about him or her, so encourage your child to take advantage of that to meet as many new kids as they can. Over time, they will build relationships with kids who have similar interests.
Becoming familiar with your neighborhood is another great way to ease your child’s nerves about their new surroundings. Find out if there are any other kids on the block for your child to play with outside before the school year starts. Don’t force your child to play with kids – allow them to feel it out and choose who they want to play with. Setting up play dates for shy kids in the beginning is encouraged.
Always encourage your child to keep a positive attitude about their new school, and try not to let them see your nerves about the situation. It may take some time to completely adjust, and that is okay. Building friendships is an ongoing process.