What to Expect and Do When You’re Moving Schools

Children thrive on routine and stability, and school forms a critical part of this structure. The reason children favor this approach is that it creates a sense of predictability and security for them. This allows them to develop and grow safe in the knowledge that they have a good idea of what each day holds for them.

That’s why a massive upheaval in a child’s life can be very stressful and traumatic. One of the things that will ‘rock their world’ the most is changing schools. However, it might be unavoidable, and you can mitigate the effects by being prepared for your child’s response at an age-appropriate level.

Prepare your child

To get your child ready for the idea of going to a new school, you, as a parent, need to be prepared. Discuss the move with your child so that they feel included in the process. 

You cannot accommodate all their opinions and desires, but you can at least let them feel they were able to offer their input. Be prepared for an emotional response from your child and give them room to express how they’re feeling. 

Find out about the availability of schools in the new area in which you will be settling if you’re moving. Moving is stressful enough, says Kenneth Coffey, owner of Coffey Bros Chicago Movers, so try to have the schooling side sorted out beforehand. If you’re staying put but moving your child to a new school, find out if other children at their existing school are also moving to the same school.

Now you can prepare your child by letting them talk about what they’ll miss about their old school and what they’re looking forward to about their new school. Don’t minimize their feelings of sadness, but maintain an enthusiastic approach.

School communication

During this time, you must remain in communication with staff at the child’s current school and the new school. Make sure that your child’s academic records and transcripts are ready to be sent to the next school. Ask teachers to include all relevant information about your child that they feel educators at the new school should know.

Find out how the new school integrates new attendees when they arrive so that you can discuss this with your child in advance. If you feel that there is enough reason to meet with the child’s teacher ahead of time, ask to schedule an appointment. 

This is especially relevant for parents of children with learning or behavioral difficulties. Individual needs should be recognized as early as possible, so highlighting them for the teacher will help.

Settling in

Once your child starts at their new school, you’re going to need to read their cues to see if they’re settling in and managing. This includes their body language, what they do and don’t tell you, and their overall demeanor. 

You’ll need to be patient as there is no set timetable for settling in at a new school. For some children, it will happen within the first few days, but for others, it could take weeks or even months. 

Make sure your child feels free to talk to you about how they’re feeling. Children sense that their parents are stressed out, and many will tell them everything is okay when it really isn’t. Encourage the child to put their best foot forward and be there with them every step of the way.

Since curriculum implementation may differ from one school to another, there may be some small gaps, such as topics your child’s old school hadn’t covered. Find out about these and ask the teacher for help to fill them.