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Adjusting to a New School

Adjusting to a new school doesn’t have to be tough.  Here are some tips for helping your child adjust to a new school.  From Kindergarten to Middle School & High School adjusting can be challenging at any age.  These tips can make it easier. (You’ll notice that some of the tips for applying to kindergarten, middle school and high school overlap, though the kids are of different ages.)

Adjusting to Kindergarten:

  1. Try to do some play therapy at home. (Small figures, stuffed animals, or puppets will do. Have your “actors” experience a transition to a new place.)
  2. Talk about the transition to your child in a positive way and try not to let your own anxiety about the change show too much.
  3. Set up a playdate with one of your child’s new classmates.
  4. Role play as much as you can (dramatic play is very important to help preschoolers learn how to accept change and how to begin new roles).
  5. Tell your child how you felt when you had to go to kindergarten—and what made you feel better and how it turned out okay
  6. Ask your child’s siblings to tell her/him about their experience.
  7. Remind your child “It’s okay to be afraid. But, you’ll feel better each day that you’re there. Lots of kids feel just like you do.”
  8. Give your child time to talk to you about their fears.
  9. Read to your child about starting kindergarten.

Adjusting to Middle school:

  1. Talk about the upside of Middle School
  2. Address your child’s fears about middle school
  3. Prepare your tween for changes
  4. Take a tour of the Middle School
  5. Consider resources about Middle School
  6. Talk about bullying
  7. Help with homework
  8. Consider your tween’s independence

Advice for new High Schoolers:

  1. Be yourself.
  2. Stay in contact with your “old” school friends, particularly while you haven’t made close friends at high school.
  3. Give it time. Everybody starts off with no friends but soon you will have a new group of friends that you hang out with and have fun with.
  4. Introduce yourself to people you don’t know – they will probably appreciate it more than you think.
  5. Ask the student counsellor or one of the teachers to help you if you are struggling with school in any way.
  6. Get involved in school activities (music, sport, debating), and you will meet new people with the same interests.
  7. Look at the positives of being at high school – new school facilities, more independence, more variety in classes, some choice in what you want to study.
  8. Get organised. Use your school planner and diary to keep on track.
  9. Pack your school bag the night before so that you are sure you have everything you  will need for the next day’s lessons.


Read the full articles on adjusting to Kindergarten here, Middle School here, and High School here.