Guiding Your Children Through a Change in Schools

Most families try to move during the summer to simplify the transition from one school to another for their children. There are some instances when a move must happen mid-year, leaving many parents worried about how their children will adjust. There are steps parents can take to make the mid-year school move as successful as possible.

Decide on when to involve your child in the move planning based on the child’s age. Early elementary school children most likely do not need to know about the move until it is just a few weeks away. Older children should know much sooner. The news must come from you, so if friends and other family members might ‘spill the beans’ be sure to give your children the news directly.

Be sure to inform your children’s teachers and school administrators so that they can supply you with necessary information for the transition to a new school. For small children, once they are aware of the move, try to give them simple facts about their new school. Speak with their new teacher before your arrival. Give them some insight into your child’s personality and ask them to assign a suitable ‘buddy’ to greet your child on their first day at the new school. Have older kids do some of their own research on their new school. Be sure to help your child find out about clubs or sports teams at their new school so that they can get involved in familiar activities as quickly as possible.

For middle school or high school age children, find out about placement tests or other methods the new school uses to be sure your child is placed in the appropriate level of classes. Check on credit requirements to make sure your child’s transcripts from their previous school transfers accurately to the new school, ensuring that your child has the expected number of credits towards graduation.

The transition may hit a few bumps along the way, but open communication with both your children and the schools involved is the key to a successful move during the school year.

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