If your child is Moving Primary Schools

Perhaps your child is swapping to a new school for educational or personal reasons. Whatever the reason, changing schools can be a big upheaval in a young child’s life. Leaving behind their friends and old school for an unfamiliar environment with new teachers, classrooms and children takes some getting used to.

1: Keep in touch

Saying goodbye to old school friends can be tough, but there are plenty of ways to keep in touch, whether online, through text and phone calls or writing letters.  Knowing they can keep in touch can help children feel less upset about leaving their old school behind. Handing out cards with their contact details on to friends on their last day is a nice idea.

2: Familiarise them with the new school

If you can, visit your child’s new school before they start. This helps them feel more familiar with their new school and gives your child a chance to meet their new teacher.  Looking at the school website, pictures of the staff and finding out about the day-to-day school routine will help your child feel more comfortable. You can also practise the school run so you know how long it will take and what to expect so you’re not rushing on the first day.

3: Go with your child on their first day

Having a friendly face to drop them off and pick them up on the first day can help your child feel more confident. If you feel anxious, try not to let it show, kids will pick up on your worries and it can make them feel more nervous.

4: Pack a special lunch

If your child’s having a packed lunch, putting a little treat or note in there will let them know you’re thinking of them and give them a bit of encouragement.

5: Making new friends

Most parents worry about their child making friends, but schools are experienced in helping new pupils feel at home. Most will have a buddy system so there’ll be another child to sit with them and show them what to do for the first week or so.  If the school is in a new neighbourhood, enrolling your child in sports teams, drama clubs or other activities is a good way for them to meet new kids who have similar interests. Going to local summer/ winter fairs and activities will help them meet kids who might be at their school, too.  If your child is shy, you could role play talking to new children so they feel less nervous about approaching them.

6: Expect some teething troubles

Your child may take to their new school straight away but some kids can take a bit longer. There could be tears, a few worries and their learning might fall behind a little at first.

This should settle down in a few weeks but make sure you’re there to offer reassurance, listen to any worries and take interest in what they’ve been doing each day.

If it’s taking longer than expected for them to settle, talk to the teacher so you can work together to help your child feel comfortable.

7: Read books about moving to a new school

Reading books about moving to a new school can address some of your child’s worries, make them feel excited about all the new opportunities and realise that everything will be OK in the end.

Try:

  • Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School, David Macintosh
  • A New School for Charlie, Courtney Dicmas
  • The Kid in the Red Jacket, Barbara Park

8: Make sure your child has plenty of rest

Be strict with bedtimes during the school week. Tried, grumpy children are harder to manage, and emotions can be heightened when they’re tired. Make sure they get to bed on time, particularly in those first few weeks of school when they’re having to adapt to a whole new routine.