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5 Ways To Help Your Child Make the New School Transition

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new school

Think back to your first day at a new school. All the kids were so much bigger than you. You didn’t know where anything was. In short, it was all really scary. And that’s doubly true if you just moved to town and didn’t know anyone in the building.

In those times of chaos and uncertainty, your kids need stability in their lives. That’s where you come in. After those first days at a new school, there are plenty of ways you can help them regain a sense of calm and perspective while simultaneously empathizing with their situation.

Here are five ways to help your child make the new school transition:

  1. Listen

A common problem in romantic relationships and in parent/child relationships is how we rush into solution mode before really listening to what we’re hearing. With multiple decades under your belt and a fully developed brain, it’s easy to see a solution to your child’s school-related concerns.

Unfortunately, idea brainstorms aren’t what they’re looking for right now. Your child wants to be heard. Let them emote, let them be negative, let them be uncomfortable.


  1. Validate

Instead of the classic “Ah, don’t worry. You’ll be fine,” let your child know you hear them and, more importantly, you see them. Going to a new school is a massive change, and even the small changes aren’t easy. Of course they’re going to be uncomfortable and stressed. It would be weird if they weren’t.

  1. Role Play

If school hasn’t started yet, go over the first day’s schedule together at home. If it has already started, go over tomorrow’s schedule. What’s the first class? The second? Which class is your child looking forward to? Which one are they dreading?

Have them imagine walking the hallways, meeting their teachers, seeing new or familiar faces. What questions are they asking? What jokes are they telling? What stories do they have to share from the summer?

  1. Normalize

Now is the time to share your own experience. You had the same anxieties when you got to your new school. You made some mistakes, you embarrassed yourself a few times, but you made it through and you have an amazing kid.

It’s not just your child who feels the stress, either. Every one of their classmates who’s coming into the new school feels the same way. They’re all nervous or scared or anxious, or all three all at once. The only way to get comfortable something as uncomfortable as going to a new school is to do it over and over again and let time pass.

  1. Set Small Goals

There are lots of different ways small goals can be set. Some examples:

  • “One day at a time.” It’s easy to see light at the end of the tunnel if the tunnel stops at the end of the day rather than at the end of the year.
  • Sign up for an after school sport, activity or club
  • Find someone new that you’re curious about and ask them a question
  • Bring something that you’ll love eating during lunch
  • If you see someone being bullied, help them in the moment or talk to them later on about it

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health battles we help our clients fight here at Stenzel Clinical, and a stunning amount of it comes from adolescents with school-related anxiety. But with you by your kids’ side and talking openly and honestly, they’ll make it through, keep anxiety at bay and be on their way to a memorable and positive experience at school.