We’re coming up on a big week in our house. It’s back-to-school week, and we could not be more excited! Our oldest daughter is going into the third grade and our sweet second born is going into kindergarten. She will be going to ‘real’ school for the first time, and she’s actually excited. As if we were not nervous enough about one daughter going to school for the first time in a new environment, we are dealing with both girls starting a new school for the first time. You see, we bought a new house at the end of 2014 and we cheated a bit.
We still own our other house, so we continued to use that address on our paperwork so our daughter did not have to switch schools. The one we are zoned for now is a far better private school in terms of academics, so we thought we might go ahead and just send them both now while it’s a fresh new year, a first time for our younger daughter and exciting for everyone. Our girls are both fantastic students and kids, so they’ll make new friends fast. But I’m still a nervous mom, and I worry for them. Will they be able to handle it? Will they make new friends? How can we help them adjust? It’s a worry that I know I’m not alone in dwelling over. I’ve prayed about it, thought about it and talked about it with my girls.
I’ve also done some research to find out what I need to do to get my girls excited and ready for a brand new school. Educators seem to have the best ideas, and I’m blessed with a mother, aunt and best friend/cousin-in-law who are all teachers and have some thoughts to share. I thought I might share their ideas with you so that you can help your own kids with their new school.
The one thing that we were sure to do was get our kids excited from the start. We drove them by their new school months ago. We’ve taken them with us to enroll them so that they could go in and see the school. We’ve talked it up and made it sound really exciting. We’ve done all that we can do to help these kids get excited about it and used to the idea of going somewhere new. It helps, because they have time to process it and make it work for themselves.
Encourage New Friendships
One thing we are good at doing is encouraging new friendships. Our daughter was in VPK last year and has some friends going to her new school, too. We’ve talked about how they will all go from their old ‘school’ to their new one together, and she loves that. Additionally, our oldest has been a cheerleader for four years now, and she’s been involved in gymnastics for a full year. She’s already met some of the kids who will go to her new school through that, so we’ve encouraged new friendships outside of school so that she has some friendly faces in the crowd when she shows up for her first day.
One day might be amazing leading up to the first day of school, and one day might not be. Have patience with your kids to help get them through this scary and confusing time. For me, my kids are still young enough that I don’t think that they’ve solidified any of their school friendships yet in a way that is so important to them that they are sad to be leaving behind their old places of education for a new one.
Make the First Day of School Exciting
Our kids love excitement. We’ve already taken them back-to-school clothes shopping and let them pick out their new clothes for the school year. We made sure they were able to find everything they wanted, but that they were also very excited to pick out something super special for that very important first day of school. They were thrilled about that, and they cannot wait for their first day of their new school so they can wear the outfits and shoes and new back packs and lunch boxes they just had to have.
Get Involved Early
Something else you can do is get involved. Is there an open house you can attend so that you can meet teachers, see classrooms and get acquainted with the school ahead of the first day? If so, go. We do it, and it’s a great way to see if the kids know anyone in their new classes, to help them find out where they are going, to get to meet their teacher on the first day, and to spend some quality time looking around the school. It’s good for them, and they really do enjoy it.
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