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Anne Godfrey

Contributing Writer
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Hometown Blogs: Making the transition to a new school

July 21st, 2014 11:13 am by Anne Godfrey

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
friends.

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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