Last post I shared tips on how we were going to help our youngest make the transition into a new school. Her first day went well. She made friends. She liked her teachers. A week has gone by and all seems okay, yet she isn’t completely confident. She’s excited about school, but also nervous. At first I was concerned, but my wise husband reminded me that we just need to give her time to adjust.
Maybe, like me, you are concerned about your TCK and how they are adjusting to their new school. Give. It. Time. Whether transferring from a new country or from a local school, he is in a period of transition. It may take a few days, a few weeks, maybe even a month for him to find his place and feel secure. This all depends, of course, on his age. How can parents help?
1. Listen, Listen, Listen. This is probably the most important, yet hardest to do. We all want to “fix” the problems immediately for our hurting/struggling child(ren), but many times we just need to listen. Listening to a 6-year old vs. a 16-year old is not the same and should be approached differently. Younger children can be asked questions like, What was the best part of today? the worst? Who did you play with at recess? Older children will shut off immediately if you start asking questions like that. They may even brush off the question, How was your day? I’ve found that I’ve learned more from my oldest child when I am not trying to pry information from him. This usually happens when we are playing a game, putting a puzzle together, or doing the dishes together. Really, it can be anything that doesn’t make him feel like he’s under interrogation. Find time to do something with your older child, but the key is when they do start to open up and share, you need to listen.
2. Encourage your child to get involved. What is your child interested in? Check to see if your school offers activities or clubs after school, then encourage your child to get involved with one. If there are no clubs at your school ask if you could start one. Being involved in school activities helps develop friendships and forms a feeling of belonging. Both necessary for the transition to a new school.
3. Talk with your child’s teacher. If after a few months have past and you still notice that your child isn’t transitioning well, then make an appointment to see the teacher. Ask his teacher if he has noticed anything during the school day. If there is a concern, then a counselor might need to be consulted. If the teacher hasn’t noticed, then ask him to observe that week to see what your child does at recess or during free time. It might be that all is fine at school, but at home he is reminded of what he left behind. In that case, he is still in transition, which is normal.
How have you helped your child(ren) transition after that first day? Love to hear your ideas!