Transitions can feel intimidating, especially when experiencing a major change like transferring to a new school or moving from elementary to middle or middle to high school. Your child may be worried about several factors including making friends, bullies, school work, getting lost, or even whether or not they’ll be able to open their locker. Let’s talk about how to make this transition as smooth and comfortable as possible!
One suggestion for handling school nerves is to have them discuss or write out what they’re specifically afraid of, and then note which fears are out of their control. The idea is to shift the focus off of the things they can’t control and direct their energy towards the things they can control. When they’re done, take time to discuss or write the positive aspects of the transition so they can potentially get a little excited about it!
To prepare for the transition itself, it’s a good idea to get into the school routine the week before it starts. This may include getting supplies together, keeping a realistic bedtime, and encouraging more social time with school friends. If they’re going to a new school, see if they can visit the building before school is in session so they can know their way around.
Finally, ensure that your child is practicing self-care! This means taking care of physical health (enough water, nutrition, exercise, and sleep) and also mental health (activities that make them feel relaxed and rejuvenated). These actions will put them in the right headspace to feel their best no matter what happens at school.
Understand that it’s normal to feel nervous, and the nerves are what keep your child motivated to do their best! Remind your child that they’ve handled transitions before and can do it again… and they just might enjoy themselves!