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Hometown Blogs: Making the transition to a new school

Anne Godfrey • Jul 21, 2014 at 11:16 AM

Is your child preparing

to start a new school this fall? If so, as we all know, it’s a transition for

the whole family. A new schedule, new car or bus lines, an unfamiliar campus,

new teachers… It can be stressful for our children, which makes it stressful

for us, doesn’t it?

I remember somewhere back

in the recesses of my addled, middle-aged mind, hearing a child expert say that

our children look to us figure out how to react to change. I found that to be

true when my children were little, and I find it’s still true today, with my

three teenagers.

If we are stressed about a change, our children will be

stressed about it, which will add to our stress, which will add to their

stress. And so on and so forth. The transition to a new school can become a

self-fulfilling prediction; what kind will it be in your house? If your mind is

open to the new experience, to a new group of kids, a new way of operating,

your child’s mind will be, too.

When my kids moved from elementary school to

Indian Trail, they met so many fabulous kids, who were fabulous even though

they didn’t go to elementary school with us – go figure! It turns out that

Johnson City is full of bright, involved, caring, fun kids, who became great


Now, you and I both know that not every kid our kids meet is bright,

involved, caring, and fun – it would be wrong to imply otherwise. But part of

our jobs as parents is to help teach our children how to interact with all kids

– we certainly have to interact with all kinds in the real world, don’t we? We

fail as parents if we are not teaching our children how to negotiate a bigger,

more diverse environment.

Moving to a new school is one of the first ways our

kids experience that. Use this time to talk to your child about ways to say

hello to kids he or she has never met before – I promise, those kids are just

as nervous! Talk with your child about the differences between one school and

another. It’s ok to find things you like and things you don’t understand about

both schools.

Make a conscious decision to keep an open mind, and changes are,

your child will, too. And you’ll all feel much better. Then, as soon as our

children are happily settled into the new school year, we can all start

counting the days until summer vacation together!

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