Navigating a New School with Your Child

Whether you are moving, choosing to send your child to private school versus public, or your child is simply matriculating to a new school building within the same district, changing schools can be a stressor for both your child and for you.

Below are a few simple and effective tips to help make the transition better for everyone.

Arrange a Visit

It’s always a good idea to check out the new school building in person. This will give your child a peek at his or her classroom, as well as a look at the gym, cafeteria and other frequently-visited areas of the school. If it’s summertime, you can reach out to the administrative staff that works year-round to gain entry to the building. If it’s mid school year, it might be nice to ask for your child to shadow another student for a day.

Talk it Out

Have open conversations with your child to talk about their feelings (good and bad) about the new school. Help him or her work through any worries or issues, and encourage ongoing discussion even after school starts. Your vibe can set the tone, so keep it positive!

Introduce Yourself

There are always a group of parents involved in school events and activities that can help you learn more about what to expect. Find out who members of the PTO/PTA are, or even homeroom parents, and introduce yourself. They can give you some ideas of the ins and outs of the school.

Meet Teachers and Staff

If you know who your child’s teachers are going to be, it is a good idea for both you and your child to meet them. This allows you to have a personal conversation, and give them a heads up about anything they should know about your child ahead of time. Make sure to get their contact information, including email and phone number.

Review School Calendar

Every school has a calendar online that highlights important dates throughout the year. This not only includes first and last day of school, but also scheduled days off, events and field trips, and other district-related information. This will help you stay ahead of things as you plan for the year!

Sign Up for Communications

Most schools have an e-newsletter you can sign up for. These can deliver as often as weekly, and provide information that is specific to your child’s school. Additionally, you should make sure the school has your phone number if there is an automated phone system for delays, closings and other spontaneous alerts.

Schedule a Touch Base

After a few weeks of your child being integrated into the school, schedule a touch base with his or her teachers. This is a great way to see how things are going, get direct feedback, and correct anything that might help your child going forward.