6 Tips to Help You Help Your Child Through a Move to a New School

Your family has recently decided to move, and you're all excited to get into your new house. Maybe there are more bedrooms, maybe the yard is bigger, or maybe the commute time is shorter for you to get to work. Roughly 35.1 million Americans move every single year, so what you’re doing is incredibly normal.


Someone who might not be excited about the move, though, is your child who now as to attend a new school. What’s even more stressful for them is if you’re moving in the middle of the school year.


All this talk about stress might be getting you stressed, but everything is going to be fine. Why? There are tons of things you can do to help your child through this transition. Here are just a few ways you can help your child move to a new school and cut down on their stress levels.

Make sure they get enough sleep

Worrying can lead to a lack of sleep, which only increases stress and anxiety even more. If your child attends their first day at a new school on a less-than-desirable amount of sleep, it probably won’t be very pretty. Most school aged children (first through fifth grade) get about 9.5 hours of sleep every night, but experts recommend 10 to 11 hours. If you’re coming back from summer vacation, make sure you get your child back into the school-night sleep routine about a week or two in advance to get them ready.

Contact the guidance counselor

Your child's guidance counselor will probably be one of your best resources for information about the new district. Most counselors are there on a child’s first day to get them find their classrooms, choose their class schedules, etc. The American School Counselor Association recommends a student-to-
counselor ratio of 250:1. If your child is especially nervous, let the counselor know so they can help your child through the transition.

Help them make friends

Making friends at a new school can be tough for a lot of kids, but it really does make the world of difference. Nearly 73% of school districts in the United States provide recess for elementary students, and that’s a great place for your child to make friends. You can also get involved in the school community and connect with other parents. This can help you meet people who potentially have children the same age as your child, and you can help them make friends that way.

Get familiar with the school’s communication system

Depending on where your child’s new school is located, they will use a certain form of communication with the parents. Some schools use online tools like Parent Portal. Others send letters home in the mail, and some just hope that the newsletter your child shoves in their backpack during homeroom makes it onto your kitchen counter for you to read. Find out the way your child’s school communicates important information with parents and then be alert to those messages so you can help your child learn what’s going on around the school too.

Get the tour

Many schools will offer a tour to new students that will be attending the school for the first time, depending on the time of year. If your child’s new school allows this, take full advantage of it. It’s a great way to get your child excited about their new school. It also helps them get familiar with their locker, classrooms, and general layout of the school. If the school doesn’t offer this, see if you can somehow arrange a private tour yourself for you and your child to walk around and explore.

Get enough school supplies

Finally, you should make sure your child has all the school supplies they need going into their first day at a new school. Going in prepared can greatly decrease nervousness and anxiety, and it can also get your child excited. There’s really nothing like a brand new box of crayons or colored pencils. Make sure they have their own backpack, lunchbox, binder, and even a change of clothes in case they have gym class that day.

It’s normal for your child to be a little nervous about attending a new school after you move to a new house. Try some of these tricks to help ease their nerves. Remember that through the entire transition, it’s important to talk to them about everything. Be open with them, and allow them to ask you any questions they might have about their new home and community. Open lines of communication are key to a smooth transition.

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