While change may seem like a positive thing to adults, to children it may seem like the world is ending. Little minds may not be able to understand why they can no longer stay with grandma all day or why they have to leave an old group of friends at a different daycare facility. However, going to a new school doesn’t have to bring about uncontrollable breakdowns and temper tantrums. There are a few things parents can do to make the transition easier on their child, and in turn, themselves as well.
Every child is different. So, establishing helpful transitioning techniques may take a bit of trial and error to find out what methods your child may respond the best to. You may even already know what may or may not work well with your child. So, keep that in mind when considering different techniques. But, always remember that transitioning schools and other major changes can lead to developed behavioral problems and emotional issues if they are not approached with care. So, it’s extremely important to approach transitional times with consideration of your growing child’s needs.
Children thrive in structured environments. As a parent, if your child is no longer an infant, you probably already have established a few daily routines. These may include waking up and eating breakfast at a specific time, eating a midday snack, bedtime, etc. During a transitional period like going to a new school, a child should continue with their daily routine. This way, while a child’s daily activity may change while they’re attending school, their home life routines are still set into place. And, they can eventually start to expect routines established during school hours.
While small children may not yet fully comprehend the succession and mechanics of time, they do benefit from being mentally prepared for transitions by using scheduling. For instance, telling a child they may be leaving a school in “x” amount of days or attending a new school in “x” amount of days may allow them to process the information in a way they can eventually accept. On the other hand, telling a child about a major transition like going to a new school abruptly may bring about behavioral issues if they haven’t had the proper time to accept the change that’s expected of them.
Additionally, to keep your child up to date on routines and the process day to day activities, keep an updated schedule. And, go over this schedule with your child at the beginning of each day. This way, they can build trust in a structured environment and learn to accept that each day has its own needs and expectations.
Going to a new school will undoubtedly be the last transition your child will have to go through before they’re 18 and old enough to move out of the house. So, you’re going to want to learn how to help your children go through changes at various moments of their childhood. As always, utilize rewards and consequences to help your children understand what you expect from them. For example, if your child dealt with the first day of school like a champ, held back tears, and didn’t complain, consider a reward like a trip to the local ice cream shop. But, it’s important to help the child understand that the ice cream is a reward for good behavior so that it may be associated with good behavior the next time they’re faced with a challenging transition.
It’s uncommon, but going to a new school may bring about some negative behaviors in your child. But, it’s important to remember that he or she may be reacting to the heightened anxiety levels that come with a life change. However, it may be best to simply ignore negative reactions to the situation instead of challenging your child’s behavior. This way, the child sees and understands that your decision is made and regardless of how they are acting, the change is imminent. If the child continues to act up purposefully in protest, provide consequences appropriate to the behaviors so they may not occur again.
If you’re looking for a new school which invests further in your child’s early development, consider one of the five locations offered at Ivy Prep Early Learning Academy in New York! To schedule an appointment to view our locations, give contact us today!