BEGINNING A NEW SCHOOL
Many children make transitions to new schools in the fall. Whether it's entering preschool, kindergarten, middle school, high school, college, or a move that Home For Sale results in a change, parents can help children to make smooth transitions. Schools typically have programs in place for helping new students adjust, but parents may need to inquire to find out what is available.
PRESCHOOL AND KINDERGARTEN
If this is your child's introduction to school, you and your child may be feeling anxious. You first need to reassure yourself that this is usually a smooth transition for most children. Your confidence will go a long way in providing your child with secure feelings. If the school encourages a first visit for parents without their children present, be sure to take advantage of the opportunity. You'll love discovering what the school has to offer for your child. A parent visit provides opportunities for you to ask reassuring questions that you might hesitate to ask if your child were present. Armed with total confidence, your next visit with your child is more likely to be successful because your concerns will already have been addressed.
"Your confidence will go a long
If you have individual questions about waiting a year to enroll your child or entering your child early, these will undoubtedly be resolved before your school visit. For further information on these topics, send your questions, along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Dr. Sylvia Rimm, P.O. Box 26, Watertown, WI 53098.
MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOLS
Orientations are normally scheduled for new middle and high school students. Be sure to attend with your adolescent. Clarify the expectations the school has for its students and discuss these expectations with your kids. Plan study routines ahead of time. This is often easier to do at the beginning of the year when children are enthusiastic and require new study supplies.
If there are no older siblings in the family, encourage your child to visit the school with a friend or neighbor who is already in the school. Be sure to select an appropriate guide so that the young person is positive and reassuring to your child.
Don't be overanxious about your children making new friends. Encourage them to take their time and not to worry if they feel a little lonely initially. It's better that they select carefully so they don't find themselves in a crowd that pressures them into inappropriate behaviors. If you encourage their independence and their caution, they are less likely to feel pressured about being accepted and popular.
Expect college to be a major adjustment for your now young adults. Believe in them and don't send them off with threats of punishment. Instead, offer them your support should they need counseling or tutoring help. Explain that such help is a natural part of adjusting to college. My tips for new college students and one college student's response is included on the pages 6-8 of this newsletter. You'll certainly want to share these with your student.
MAKING A MOVE
All of the suggestions about adjustment to middle and high school also apply to your plans to move to a new school or community. You should show confidence in your children, and try to be a role model for good adjustment. If you're very anxious about the move and are negative about your adjustment to your new home, you can expect that at least one of your children and perhaps all will also struggle with their adjustments. You can be sensitive to your children's worried feelings, but you may also need to do a little acting. Your attitude is so important to your children.
Find out if the curriculum of schools your children are transferring to is ahead of or behind that of their past schools. Your children may require some temporary catch-up tutoring. The new school will undoubtedly be happy to help you to find appropriate tutors, and tutoring can be discontinued as soon as your children have closed their skills gaps. If curriculum repetition results in your children being ahead of where they were in their old school, their teachers may be willing to make adjustments, or your children may need to be patient and do some repetitive work for a short time. Try not to get into the position of negating or opposing the new school, or your children will surely turn off to their new environment.
In relation to friendships, your children will also require patience for acceptance. Encourage them to stay in touch with their old friends through telephone (if not too expensive), E-mail, visits, or letter writing. That will prevent your children's loneliness and be a good lesson in the valuing of good friends.
Moves often cause families to become closer and may increase children's creativity. Be a role model of positive confidence and your children will learn by the experience.
There is one caution however. Moves are most difficult in high school, and if you can postpone them or avoid them during those years, it will be easier on your teenagers.
©2010 by Sylvia B. Rimm. All rights reserved. This publication, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without written permission of the author.