In an ideal world, children’s lives remain free from upheaval and too much change. Most parents want their child to experience the security of certainty – but in reality, this is not always achievable. Jobs change, financial needs alter and as a result it can sometimes be necessary for your child to move schools.
At the age of 11 it’s a normal step – most children go to secondary school and have to change their routine and sometimes their friends. All of these changes can be challenging for your child and by default, for you too. However, when handled carefully changes like this needn’t be too upsetting. Children are resilient and often thrive when thrown into new situations. What affects do you need to consider though?
The new environment
All children like the familiar – they like feeling part of things and knowing what comes next. When they need to change schools, this is taken away. They need to get used to not only new children but a new building, new grounds and a new journey to and from school.
The best way to prepare your child for these changes is to ensure that they have an opportunity to try them out in advance. Take your child on a visit, if possible, more than once. Trial their journey to school – will it be on foot, in a car or bus? Let them make the journey a few times so that it begins to become familiar.
Helping them say goodbye to old friends and to make new friends
The loss of old friends can be felt deeply and even for the smallest of children It can feel like a wrench. If your child is leaving behind old friends, prepare them by talking about what that means. Is it possible for them to continue meeting up even if they are at different schools? If so, help them do that. Work out some playdates with their friend’s parents. If playdates are not possible, social media is a good way to help children stay in touch.
Letting your child invite new friends over is a good way for them to begin to forge new relationships. Knowing where one another lives and seeing your friend’s home is a big part of friendship in children. Tell your child to feel free to invite a classmate or two over after school.
Make time to talk
Ensure that your child knows that there will be time at the end of each day for them to talk to you about any worries they may have. Don’t pry or press but let them know you’re there.
Continue making an extra effort for the whole of their first term at the new school. A term is usually enough for a child to begin to feel like they belong. But remember, children are resilient and as this private school in Surrey believes, they are always open to new ideas so a move might not be as difficult as you fear.