As a military family, back to school changes every year. The past three years my girls have gone to the same school with the same friends. This year we moved across the country, so they will be going to a new school literally knowing no one.
My oldest daughter will be going into 7th grade this year. Over the course of her school career she had attended school in five different states. She has gotten used to changing schools. While she misses her friends from her previous school, she’s excited to make new friends at her new school.
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My middle daughter is a different story. She started kindergarten in Colorado and attended the same school for the past three years. She doesn’t know what it’s like to start at a new school, not knowing anyone. Not only are we trying to prepare her for a new school but also dealing with her anxiety. She tends to take after me, I struggle with anxiety daily. I’ve learned to cope with it and have taught her some coping techniques.
So what have we done to get our kids ready to attend a new school and fight the first day jitters? We started talking about their new schools and looking at the school websites months ago. The kids know what their new schools look like and what classes are offered.
Usually I’m frugal “cheap” when it comes to back to school, this year I went a little overboard. I made sure that the girls had clothes and supplies that made them feel good. Not necessarily the best and most expensive, but what made them feel happy and confident.
Here are five tips to get your kids ready for the first day of school at a new school:
Start talking early. We knew for months that we would be moving. I began researching and showing my kids what their new schools were like about two months before we moved. Check out school websites and Facebook pages. For older kids look at what sports/extracurricular activities are offered.
Do a drive by. One of the first things we did once we settled into our new house was to drive by their new schools. The drive by not only showed them what their schools looked like, but my 2nd grader got to see the playground. What kids doesn’t get excited about a new playground?
Start a countdown. Make sure your kids are aware of when they will be starting school. You can use something like thisor make a paper chain so that kids can remove the links as the day grows closer. The great thing about the wooden countdown blocks it that they can be used to countdown to any event.
Attend any open houses or meet the teacher events that are available. If they aren’t offered, talk to the people in the school office to see if you can look around or get a tour.
This one applies to younger children mostly. The night before school starts, read some books about going back to school. Not only will your child get snuggle time with you but they will benefit from hearing the books. Here are some great back to school books that we love.
Here are a fee great books about going to school for your kids.
The most important thing is to make sure to keep the lines of communication open with your kids. If they have concerns or fears, talk about them.