Transitions involve a complex arrangement of different environmental, social and educational factors. It is normal for a child to be worried or excited about starting school, moving up to secondary school, moving house or a variety of other big life changes. It is also very common for parents to have concerns about their child during these periods of change.
Parents are usually worried about two main concerns during transitional stages in their childs life:
- Academic adjustment: Will my child settle into new school work? Will they flourish or struggle with the curriculum?
- Social adjustment: Will my child adjust well to new social interactions and expectations? Will they make friends and “fit in” well?
You can ease these worries for yourself and your child by taking note of the following tips:
Plan ahead & allow your child as much opportunity to see their new environment. Visit the teacher or school or attend the planned open evening to help reduce the fear of the unknown. Ask for a timetable from the school in advance and display this in the house. Organise uniforms the night before and make sure your child gets a good sleep and a good breakfast on the first stay. Bring your child to house viewings if you plan on moving house. Show them the neighbourhood before your moving in date. By allowing your child to familiarise themselves in some way with the new environment they will be heading to, they will likely feel much more settled & comfortable about the change.
Talk about it
Sometimes children will find it hard to talk about their worries around the changes, however, you might notice a difference in your child’s behavior. Recognise the impact of the change and talk to your child about these concerns providing them with the reassurance that their worries are normal. It is good to discuss how your child is feeling about the changes gently and considerately. Remember if your child is feeling negative at the beginning of the big change, these feelings can often change very quickly!
Children can get very worried about the possibility of not making any friends or being bullied in a new school environment. Make sure to arrange play dates & create opportunities for socialising with other children in the class. Find out if any other children will be taking the same route to school and, providing your child doesn’t feel you are interfering too much try and arrange for them to meet up before school starts. Sort out any problems quickly. Most children will settle into secondary school very happily, but if anything is troubling your child or you, do not hesitate to contact the school immediately.
For more information on School Transitions, check our Parents Guide To Transitions