New School New Fears

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Updated August 6, 2019

After living in Phoenix for many years, your family has just moved into your new home in Southern California. It’s an exciting move, with all kinds of possibilities. But your child isn’t thrilled about being the new kid at a strange school, especially if they are shy. Even if you never experienced it yourself, you probably remember other kids who were new, so it’s easy to imagine what your son or daughter is feeling.

Entering a new school is an experience your children have to get through on their own, but there are ways you can help them through the often scary and awkward transition.

  1. Do a first day dry run with your child at the new school. Explore the campus while school is out, pointing out the classrooms they will be going to.
  2. Talk about finding new friends with your children. Let them talk out their fears and discuss how they can pick another child or two to be “first day friends.” Younger kids can even practice asking to sit with these new friends at lunchtime.
  3. Encourage your child to speak up, to ask for help when they need it. Do some role-playing and have your child, the new kid, take the lead on starting a conversation.
  4. Tell them that, yes, missing their old friends is normal and talk what you miss about the old neighborhood. Encourage them to stay in touch as much as they want.
  5. Share a “happy ending” story from your own childhood, whether you were the new kid or the one who befriended a child that was new to your school.

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