Moving during the school year is not an ideal situation. But sometimes it cannot be avoided – for instance, if you’ve had a job change. While relocating during the school year can be disruptive, there are steps you can take to smooth the process. In fact, most kids who move while school is in session end up adjusting just fine in the long run.
If you’re expecting a mid-year move, here’s what you should do to prepare.
Keep the kids in the know
As difficult as it will be to break the news of the move to the kids, the sooner you do it, the better. By telling them in advance, you give them time to mentally prepare and to say goodbye to their friends. Allow your kids to openly share their feelings so that they can process them.
Coordinate with your current school
Before the move, take time to coordinate with your child’s school. Meet with the administrators or guidance counselor to obtain transcripts. Talk with your child’s teachers about what they’re currently covering in class. This will better prepare you for what they’ll need to know going into a new environment.
Choose a new school
As soon as your move is confirmed, you should begin to look at schools in the new area. This can help narrow down in what neighborhoods you’d like to search for a home. Research schools online and if possible, schedule an in-person visit. Talk with a guidance counselor about where your child currently is in school and how you can all work together to make the transition smooth. Find out how your child may need to catch up in the curriculum so you can do that before arriving.
Get your child involved
Once you’ve determined where you’ll be moving, introduce the kids to the new community. Research what kinds of activities are available for them, from sports to dance classes. Let them decide some of the things they’d like to try when they arrive. This will give them something to look forward to.
Schedule an orientation
If possible, schedule some time for the kids to visit their new school before they begin classes. By meeting their teachers and getting familiar with the building, they’ll have less anxiety on that first day.
Monitor those first few weeks
Even if it seems like your kids are adjusting just fine to their new routine, keep a close eye on them. Volunteer at school functions and get to know some of the other parents. Ask about what they’re learning in school, what they like and even what they don’t like about their new school. Encourage them to make new friends.
Stay in touch
Moving can be tough on kids, so encourage them to stay in touch with their old friends. It can be comforting to them to be able to communicate with friends who know them, and help alleviate the anxiety of forming new friendships. It can even help boost their confidence so they’re more willing to be social in their new environment.
The bottom line is – moving can be hard on kids no matter what time of year it happens. But by knowing what to expect, you can make a mid-year move easier and less stressful for everyone.