The complexity of high school and its unspoken social rules is one of the reasons it’s so hard for a teen to imagine themselves in a new school. They may feel like they’re just getting the hang of the school they’re at now.
And while you can’t change the fact that they’ll be going to a new school, you can help them prepare. We can’t promise they won’t be upset, but we can provide you with tools to help the transition go more smoothly.
Here are some ideas!
Making the Announcement
Teens want to be treated like adults, which means you should let them know you’re moving as soon as it’s a sure thing (but not before).
If you say maybe, they’re going to get false hope.
The faster you bring them in the loop, the more time they’ll have to prepare and the more respected they’ll feel.
If they’re mad, let them be mad. The idea that they’re going to have to uproot their life is a shocking one that takes time to process.
Throw a Going Away Party
One of the issues teens have with going to a new school is leaving their friends behind.
Allowing them to throw a going-away party helps them get closure and is a nice celebration with friends.
Going to a New School: Do the Prep Work
Most schools have a new-student orientation before school officially starts.
While your child probably doesn’t want to go, it’s a good idea to take them.
They may make fast friends with another new kid and will likely get a tour of the school.
The idea of recognizing a few faces and not being stressed about getting to class on day one will reduce their anxiety.
Get Them Involved After School
Whether your child is more of a football/basketball type or they want to join the art or Spanish club, encourage them to get involved in an extracurricular activity.
This will help them meet new friends in context, and associate with kids who have common interests.
Even if they decide not to join the team or club next year, they’ve established relationships with the other participants — and now know some school staff better.
It’s impressive how much the sense of belonging, whether to a team or a club, can do for a high school student.
Make Their First Day Special
On day one of going to a new school, send them with money for lunch or with their favorite food. You could even wake up early and take them out to breakfast.
Starting the year off by making them feel special will mean a lot to them — even if they don’t say it.
When they get home, don’t push too much to get information out of them. They’re likely overwhelmed and missing their old friends. They’ll come to you about things they’re excited about when they’re ready.Need to prep for the move in a more practical ‘boxes and truck’ way? We can help.