So, we’re coming up to that time of year, when either your child is moving schools, or moving classes. Either way, you’re coming up to a possibly tricky time of transition-new teachers, new schools, new friends-it’s a daunting experience!
Recently, Kye moved schools, and he moved before the transition period. Moving mid-term has to be one of the scariest things a child will go through (and parents), and I really thought he’d struggle with it all. In actual fact, the plan we quickly scrambled together, about how to deal with the transition and his feelings, to suit the type of person he is, seemed to work quite well, and the move was successful!
When we found out Kye was accepted into his new school, I went to my go-to advice webpage-Google.
Now, either I wasn’t looking properly, or there really aren’t any, but I couldn’t find many advice articles from parents who have actually gone through moving their child into a new school.
And so, I decided to be that ‘help’ I was searching for-to help others as this stressful time comes upon us.
My tips for a successful transition.*
*Disclaimer; I would like to point out, Kye is one child, and our tips are based on his needs for his personality. Although our tips may work for your child, they may also need altering slightly to suit your little ones.
- Firstly, we decided to explain the feelings he may go through following being told he’d been accepted into his new school.
Nervousness (or wobbliness as we chose to address it), sadness, excitement and happiness, were all normal emotions, and most importantly, there was a strong possibility, he’d feel all of these at once-which was going to feel super odd (especially at the tender age of 7)!
Regardless of how many or how few he felt, they were all normal, and nothing to worry about.
- We also explained how, if any of the above emotions or feelings bothered him, he could talk to us about them. Any questions he had were best got out now, instead of sat wondering the answers, possibly working himself up further.
- I told him that on the Monday he would be the new boy, but by the Tuesday, none of those feelings would matter as he wouldn’t be new anymore.
Kye found out he was leaving his old school on a Wednesday evening. He had Thursday to spend doing his school Sports Day, and the Friday to say goodbye to everyone. Having to start on the following Monday left very little time to deal with how he felt. We worried about the realisation hitting him when he/we least expected it.
- We chose not to talk about it too much. Overthinking about something comes from over talking about it in our opinion. So we mentioned it enough to prepare him, but not enough to freak him out.
- On the Friday, we allowed him to wear a tshirt in to get his friends to sign, and he was also allowed to take cakes, sweets and chocolate in-both of these were by his request-and we happily agreed, knowing that this was his way of coping with leaving-to do what he does best, and to make it fun.
- During the weekend, we didn’t mention it. We had a beach day, and a walk along a seafront the following day, and the new school was never mentioned. We all knew it was coming, but once again it felt best not to over-talk about it.
- On the Monday morning, we got him to get ready as normal, again not speaking about it, but the new uniform and book bag enough to make him understand it was happening.
- We made the new route in fun, talking and laughing about random things while we walked, and by the time we got to school, although we could see he was slightly “wobbly”, we knew we’d done the right thing by not going on about the ‘new’ side of it too much.
Because of how we dealt with his transition, on the Friday when he left his old school, he didn’t shed one tear.
On the Monday, although he was slightly wobbly for the first ten minutes, I had a call from the Family Liaison Officer at 11am, who told me he’d already made two friends, and his teacher had said he had settled in perfectly.
On the Monday evening, the emotions of the day finally came out, when, during dinner he burst into tears-upset that he was too tired to eat or have pudding (which we found pretty adorable).
By Tuesday, he was practically running in, talking about his class like he’d been in there for weeks.
We’re now on Friday, and he’s told me during this week that he’s so happy, he loves his new school, and he feels like he has a happy life now, when before he wasn’t so happy.
We’re super proud of our boy, for his resilience to change, and his likeable nature that has helped him make friends and be liked by school staff.
But we’re also proud of ourselves. For making the decision to change this massive part of his life, to make him happier-and for dealing with the transition and change as well as we could, which ultimately has helped him so much this last week.
For the parents about to deal with the transition period for their children, good luck. Remember to adapt the above to suit your child, and keep strong, change is sometimes pretty awful (even for us grown ups), but it will level out in the end. All emotions are normal-remind them of that, and you’ll all be fine.
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