My daughter came to me one evening and said she wanted to write a blog post for kids who are moving and switching schools. This is something she is experiencing this summer before entering 3rd grade. I was both pleasantly surprised and proud of her. She took the initiative to write this (well, dictate this to me as I typed). We worked on this for several evenings together. These are all her own thoughts.
When you move to a new school you can meet new friends.
Everybody wants to be friends with the new kid!
You can do new things you didn’t do in your old school- like go to new specials.
When kids move they shouldn’t be scared to switch schools if they have to.
If your new school looks different than your old school, ask a friend or a teacher to help show you the way.
If you are scared and nervous, just think of positive things like:
Good happy thoughts
Other times you were brave
How much fun you will have!
You can also talk to a grown up about it like a mom, dad, guidance counselor or teacher. Just tell them how you feel.
It’s actually really fun to change homes!
You get to see how they do the work if you design your house.
You can meet new friends if there are kids in your neighborhood.
Maybe there will be kids your age. You can introduce yourself and say, “My name is ___ and I am___ years old and I just moved into the neighborhood.”
You can decorate your own room however you want. You can pick out your room color, some picture frames, and maybe new bedding.
Think about these things that I mentioned and you will have a good year!
I was very cognizant when we started this process to include the kids in some of our discussions. My girls need time to process change and I know that about them. Moving is known as one of the top 3 stressors behind death and divorce. Even if the move is a positive one, it’s still stressful. It’s a change in routine and the chaos of packing, renovation; etc disrupts the flow of the entire family.
But I thought, why does it have to be for the kids? My husband and I had a discussion that during the process. I knew we were going to be stressed, but I didn’t want it to spill over onto the girls. We talked about what we could do to spare them that stress.
Some things that helped us ease their transition:
We talked to them about moving. This is different than talking about the move in front of them. We shared with them certain details and we let them know they could discuss anything they were feeling or thinking. For us, it was a 2 month process of buying the new house and selling our old one, so we made sure to check in with them during this hectic time.
Remember the stress of moving is temporary. We tried hard to keep it in perspective. It got very overwhelming at times, but we had to constantly remind ourselves that it would be worth it in the end.
We took the girls to the new house many times before we moved. We even let them bring friends over to swim in the neighborhood, packed lunches and made it fun. My goal was to start creating positive feelings and memories to associate with the new house.
Moving is a great time to take inventory of your things and decide what’s going and what’s staying. The same is true for the kids. We involved them in the process and gave them the opportunity to donate their toys, clothes, etc to others that are less fortunate.
I always donate to Vietnam Veterans of America (vva.org). This organization is special to me since my father was a Vietnam Vet. They make it so easy to donate. You schedule a pick up online and they come get your things and leave you a receipt.
Tour the School:
We took them on a guided tour of the new school. We went into several classrooms, the lunchroom, media center etc. We then had a meeting with the Principal and Guidance Counselor to get to know them and introduce ourselves. I shared with them some information about the girls and which type of teacher (traits) would be a good fit for them to have a successful year and an easy transition.
Brave Journey Activity:
Dr. Jessica Leon advises, “Sometimes when we are faced with change or challenges, we can immediately begin to fear the unknown and doubt our ability. Or, we can immediately see the positives and rewards to come. This depends on how strong our self-esteem is. Self-esteem can be defined as the confidence in ones own worth or abilities. It’s easy to forget how brave we have been in the past or obstacles we have overcome.
A great tool for kids to use to VISUALLY be reminded how brave they are and what changes they have overcome is a brave journey timeline.”
We created a timeline of events illustrating when they were brave in the past. This activity helps them see all of the times they were brave and will remind them to have courage when they are faced with the fear of the unknowns associated with changing schools.
Attitude of Gratitude:
The last night in our house we thanked it for all of the wonderful memories, keeping us sheltered, and protected, as a sort of closure for them. When we put the girls to bed we talked about special memories we had in the house and what special memories we would create in the new house. Focus on the move being a new beginning, not an ending.
Some Children’s Books about Moving:
You can also visit my Pinterest Board: Moving for books and tips.
Photos: Rosie Pose Photography
Outfit: Little Mass/Tru Luv