So this post is a bit niche… but if it helps even one family then it has been worth writing. We relocated just under a year ago, we moved four hours away and left our friends, family and everyone we knew behind, in order to follow our dream of living in an area we have loved and longed to live in for a long time. Sounds dreamy hey? Well for the most part it has been. The children have amazed me, we love our home and our area but it has certainly been a rollercoaster of emotions for all of us. In this post I will give some tips on things that helped us settle the children into their new school and surroundings.
Get them involved
We found getting the children involved in the prep of a new school like paperwork and uniform ordering really helped. Although a lot of this is aimed at the adults, it is still good to get the children to sit with you while you fill forms in so that they can be prompted to ask you any questions that may be on their mind. We also let the girls look on the computer at their new school website as much as they wanted. They would spend ages looking at the “meet the team” page, this meant that by the time they joined the new school weeks later, the faces of the staff already looked familiar. Our youngest daughter was a bit upset on the last week of her old school so her pervious teacher spent some time one lunch break looking online at Sophia’s new school with her. I found this really helped the girls feel like they knew some faces and structure of the school a bit better before they started.
Tell them you are scared too
Children are not stupid. They are as emotionally complex as adults when it comes to big change. Instead of dismissing their concerns with “oh it will be fine” I told them the truth…… I was scared too, terified infact. I told them that change is always scary but we would all get through it together. Be relatable while still encouraging them and reassuring them that it will all be ok at the same time.
Have a Birthday party
We found having a birthday party really helped with the settling in process, Both for myself and the children. Fortunately both children had birthdays within a few months of starting the new school. It was good for the children to socialise outside of school with a group of friends, it was also a nice opportunity for us as parents to meet their new friends. For me, it was a really good opportunity to speak to and meet the parents properly, when you are just in the playground it takes someone to have to make an effort to speak to or introduce themselves, with a birthday party, the situation leads the way and means you get to put a face to the parent of each child. It really helped me to have some friendly faces to smile at in the mornings. Having the childrens parties was a real turning point for me.
Maybe the most obvious of all, extracurricular activities such as sports, having playdates and local clubs is another great way to integrate your child into their new school/community. Although a bit stressful with three children already, we try to allow the girls to have play dates or go to a friends house for dinner as often as we can. It is great for the children to be able to mingle outside of school so that they can play and embrace their new friendships in a less structured environment.
So if your little ones are changing schools because of a relocation, just a short trip or even to the next stage of schooling, I hope these tips can help and ease yours or your child’s worries or concerns. I am happy to report that the girls are totally settled, have wonderful groups of friends and love their new school.