Helping a Child Adjust to a Move and a New School

Statistics tell us that about 50% of us move every five years. If that move entails a change of school for your child, then expect a few bumps along the way.

For adults, moving to a new neighborhood or city can be exciting, spelling a new home, new challenges and even a job promotion. But for kids, moving often means leaving behind the security of their school and friends, and that can be one of the most stressful times in their young lives says psychotherapist and parent educator, Barbara Burrows. “Parents need to recognize the anxieties that children are bound to be experiencing. You should take any opportunity to involve your child in the process of moving to help ease their anxiety. Can they see the new house before moving or a picture of the house? Can you talk about the new house and its surroundings? The main criteria for helping a child adjust to a move is to listen to them very carefully because they will express their fears and anxieties.”

One of the most difficult aspects of moving for children is the adjustment to a new school. Burrows suggests that parents “ask the new school to help the kids make a happy adjustment. The academics don’t matter at all to start with until the child makes a happy adjustment and feels comfortable in his new surroundings.”

Counselor Karen Turner adds that while moving isn’t easy, there are things that you and the school can do to help with the change. “When they first arrive at a new school, I think encouraging a connection with one or two people rather than to win over a whole group is best. It’s important that parents stay in touch with the school and find our what resources are available.”

Finally, no matter what age, if your child is having difficulty with this major transition, seek professional help through the school or your child’s doctor. Moving can be tough on everyone, and kids may need a little extra help to smooth the transition.


Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.

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