Helping Your Child Adjust to a New School After Moving

Bronx Science High School

You’ve just moved into a new neighborhood, and your children will be attending a different school. Even if you’re not completely settled in your new home yet, here are a few end-of-summer tips to make the first day of school easier on the whole family.

Enrollment and preparation

Make sure your child’s new school has all the required enrollment paperwork; which may include: academic records, health records and information (such as food allergies), and special needs. Contact the school or district administration to be certain you haven’t overlooked anything.

If you’re moving to or within New York City, here are some helpful resources from the NYC Department of Education:

Once enrollment is taken care of, many schools will let you know what children will need before classes start. Plan a fun day of school shopping. If possible, a little splurge on something for your child to wear or bring the first day will help.

Does the school have any parent committees that you can join? Are there any outings or events that you can volunteer for? It’s a great way for you to get to know your child’s teacher(s) and other parents, and it will make a young child feel more comfortable if you’re involved.

Research the school with your child

Include your child in some of the back-to-school preparations. Take a look at the school’s website before school starts. You can both become familiar with extracurricular clubs and committees, as well as any school events planned for the fall. It will make the new school less daunting.

Be sure to do a test run. Determine the best route whether your child will be taking a school bus, walking, or using public transportation, and take the trip with them before the first day. Call the school before you take a trip there. Ask if your child can meet their teacher, counselor, and/or principal.

Make new friends

Familiar classmates can make all the difference that first day. Do what you can to give your child the opportunity to meet children before school starts. Even this late in the summer, you can probably find a sports program to join or a library event to attend. Take your young child to the neighborhood pool, playground, or park, and depending on the child’s age, you’ll probably make new friends, too!

Check with the school and ask your neighbors; perhaps you can find out if there any other new children starting in your child’s class or grade.

Maintain normalcy and keep calm around the house

if you’re not done unpacking from the move, shift your focus to organizing your child’s belongings. The night before, make sure everything they need that morning has been unpacked and is ready for the school day: such as clothes ironed, backpack filled, lunch made.

On the morning of their first-day, keep things as low key as possible. Stick to the old routines for getting ready and traditions, such as a favorite breakfast meal.

Once your child gets back into the routine of school, be prepared to provide additional support – depending on their age, they might need extra homework help and extra support as they become acclimated.

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