You’ve chosen the perfect school for your child’s needs and completed the enrollment process. Now comes the actual transition and the start of an exciting new adventure!
Keep in mind, your child could be a little nervous about all of this. That’s okay, it’s perfectly normal. Change is difficult, and making the transition between public and faith-based school is no exception. But here are 10 tips to help make this pivotal experience go as smoothly as possible:
- Above all, be positive. Your child will look to you to set the emotional tone for this undertaking.
- Help your child understand why this is happening. While the benefits of the change are clear to you, they may not be to your child.
- Don’t ignore your child’s anxiety; encourage discussion about it. And no matter what, make sure you are patient, understanding, and most of all reassuring.
- Visit the school with your child and meet/socialize with as many of the staff as possible. Becoming acquainted with the new people and surroundings before the first day will help take away some of the fear of the unknown.
- Go through the school handbook with your child. In it you’ll learn about the school climate, including things like behavioral expectations and dress code.
- Create a routine. To your child, it may seem that the entire world is in a state of upheaval, especially if a move accompanies the transfer. Providing a daily structure at home that your child can count on will be a source of comfort not only during the adjustment period, but beyond.
- Practice. If your child will be walking to school or the bus stop, map out the route and take a few trial runs. Do this even if you’ll be driving your child. Remove the unfamiliarity of getting to school from the equation.
- Go shopping. You will be provided with a supply list. Allow your child to have a say in which notebooks or backpack you buy (as long as they fall within specifications). This is a way for your child to feel some control over the new start.
- Encourage, but don’t force, social interaction. Suggest that your child join extracurricular activities, such as athletics or fine arts, in order to make friends.
- Make going to a new school a family affair. Get involved with volunteer activities in and out of the classroom and network with other parents.
By following these tips, you can rest assured that you’re sending your child off to a new school with the gift of confidence. Know also that all of our schools under the Archdiocese of Hartford are filled with supportive professionals who will go out of their way to make your child feel welcome.
Also don’t forget to check your school’s calendar for orientations (for students and parents), open houses, and the back-to-school mass. Make sure to visit your individual school’s Facebook or Twitter pages for invites to back-to-school activities such as picnics and movie nights. Last but not least, reach out to families in your parish that have kids attending the same school. Events such as bingo, pasta dinners, and sundae socials are a great way for all of you to connect with new friends. In no time your child will feel right at home in the new school.
Let the adventure begin!