How to Help Your Child Transition into a New School Year

Summer blog series #6

Adjusting to change can be hard, especially for kids who are entering a new school level. That’s why we’ve gathered some age-appropriate strategies to ace school transitions and gear up for a fresh year of learning.

First Grade: Build Excitement

If your child is having trouble letting go of kindergarten and embracing the unfamiliar prospect of first grade, counter their fears with enthusiasm. Get into a family-wide habit of keeping all school talk positive and animated to make the unknown feel like an adventure.

  • Before school begins: Remind your child about their favorite things they learned in kindergarten and then tell them about the fun, new topics that await.
  • After school begins: During the first few weeks of school, ask your child to walk you through the best parts of their day and what they’re learning. Sharing these moments will keep their positive momentum going.

Middle School: Fine Tune the Details

For kids who are used to the day-to-day structure of elementary school, middle school is an entirely different world filled with an intimidating mix of new peers, a new school, and new social and academic challenges. To help your child with this transition, get a leg up on logistics like the layout of the school, teachers’ syllabi, and what extracurriculars are offered.

  • Before school begins: Make sure your child has a map of their new school with all classrooms and lockers highlighted. If you can, take some time to explore the campus.
  • After school begins: Sports and clubs can lead to new friends and more confidence, so encourage your child to find an extracurricular activity that they will love. If your child’s favorite activity or interest isn’t represented, look for other options through community centers or local sports leagues.

High School: Encourage Independence

It’s easy for new high schoolers to feel overwhelmed when faced with more freedom and responsibilities—from college entrance exams and applications to more intense academics and ever-changing social lives. Make the transition smoother by helping your teen negotiate new experiences and build self-reliance along the way.

  • Before school begins: Sit down with your teen and map out their new schedule, including classes and extracurriculars. Doing so will help them recognize how much time they’ll have for homework and other commitments.
  • After school begins: Help your teen adjust to high school independence by encouraging regular after-school routines. Be available and supportive but motivate your teen to find organized, self-sufficient habits that work for them.