Tips for Parents: If Your Child Is Changing Schools

Russell Held

There are many reasons why you might want to consider changing your child’s school. You may feel another school may better serve your child’s needs and give them important advantages. Or, you may be moving and need to relocate your child’s education, too. Some parents also move to take advantage of a specific program or to move away from a school they feel is not serving its students.

Things to Consider When Changing Schools

No matter why you are considering changing your child’s school, there are several things to consider:

  • Effects on child development: In the best case scenario, a new school can mean better academic opportunities and new friends as well as an opportunity for a child to grow and hone social skills. However, a change this big can also cause temporary setbacks, especially if a child has trouble settling in or struggles to adjust to new classes.
  • Positive effects of a new school: There are many positive benefits of a new school. It can provide a fresh start for a child whose educational experience was not stellar. Some students find the challenge of new surroundings exciting or interesting, especially if a new school offers an exciting new benefit, such as the opportunity to pursue a special sport or activity.
  • Relationships: Consider how your child’s relationships will be affected by the change. Will your child be able to hold onto existing friends? How much support will they need to build a new social network? How can you encourage your child to build new relationships?
  • Quality of education: Carefully consider the new school to ensure it provides excellent academics, supportive teachers and good extracurricular activities. Even in the best case, changing schools is a big upheaval and you want to make sure your student benefits.

Preparing for the Move

Now that you have reviewed things to consider when changing a school, you may decide that switching schools is indeed in your child’s interests, there are several steps you will want to take to make the transition as smooth as possible:

  • Before the move: Get your child ready. Talk about the move and allow your child to express their feelings about it, even if they do not agree. Where possible, allow them to become part of the decision-making process. Maybe they can pick some of the classes or research new schools with you, too. Well ahead of your move, express enthusiasm and talk to your child about what they are looking forward to and what they’re worried about. Be prepared to have multiple conversations about this to help your child deal with all the emotions they may be experiencing.
  • After the move: Make sure you understand the changes your child is going through. You may have made a choice, but students who are minors often feel they do not have a choice. Keep lines of communication open and also speak to guidance counselors and teachers at the new school to ensure your child is settling in. Keep alert for personality changes, changes in eating and sleeping patterns and other signs your child is struggling.

Making Your Move to Wilbraham & Monson Academy

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