We’re already in October and I haven’t updated this blog in over a month and the reasons can all be summed up in one word:
Starting a new school is really hard for many kids. They are nervous and confused because they don’t know anyone or know where anything is. They may feel helpless because they don’t know what to do and they feel like they don’t belong because they don’t know anyone.
So, here are tips from a Canadian Military Wife on starting kids at a new school!
Visit the New School in Advance
If possible, take your children to visit their new school before the school year begins. Find the cafeteria and gym and play on the playground. If your child has made any friends from the neighbourhood who will also be attending the school, ask them to show your child around. Remember to show your child where the washrooms are! Ask about prices in the cafeteria or if there are microwaves available, ask if there will someone to assist your child in using the microwaves.
If the school has an open house or orientation meeting, be sure to attend. Meet the child’s teacher(s) and let them know you are open to communication. Let them know you want to be part of the solution to success for your child.
Do the Paperwork
Before school begins, make sure they have the records from the old school. Call to double check and be prepared to contact the old school or school board if required. Make sure you have all the emergency contact forms filled out for the new school. Explain to your children what will happen in case of emergencies. Let them know the school knows what to do. It will set their mind at ease.
Make sure that your child has all the supplies required. You don’t want your children to feel bad that they are the only ones without the necessary equipment. They may feel too shy to approach the teacher or other kids in the class.
Keep the school routine as stable as possible. Use a large family calendar, post their schedules so they can always be prepared. For great back to school tips, look here.
The Route to School
Your child may have to walk to school or take a bus for the first time. Review bus safety rules with your child. If your child walks to school, walk the route with them and point out danger zones and safety zones. Teach them what to do in case of an emergency between the school and home.
Stay in Touch
Encourage your children to stay in touch with old friends from their last school. Remind them that it takes time to build new friendships.
Kids are often scared that they will not find new friends. Do a few role playing games with them to show them how to approach kids they don’t know. Teach them how to introduce themselves and what to say other kids. Let them know that at some point they will meet up with bullies and mean kids. Let them know they can approach their teachers and school staff. Let kids know that they have YOUR support too. Check your local MFRC for great educational programs for kids!
And if you’re wondering, YES I do all that stuff with my kids whenever they start at a new school. It does take a lot of my time. It is hard. But as Jackie Kennedy said, “If you bungle raising your children, whatever else you do in life doesn’t matter very much”.
What tips do you have for helping your kids start a new school?