When you’re moving to a new house, there are a lot of things to think about. You or your partner are probably changing jobs at the same time, you have a new neighborhood to get used to, and there are dozens of practical issues that you need to take care of. For your children, however, one issue tends to loom large above all others: parting with friends and having to start all over again at a new school. The process of adjustment can be really difficult, especially if they’ve never had to do it before. What do you need to look out for, and how can you help?
Starting at a different school isn’t like going to school for the first time when everybody else is also new. At a new school, there’s the extra challenge of being the new kid where everybody else already has friends. As an adult, you can’t give your children the natural charisma you might want for them, but there are ways you can support them as they try to build connections. Take them seriously if they say they need new clothes or sports gear – adopting the right style can be a big help, as long as it suits their personality. Be ready to invite kids over for dinner or a sleepover, hold parties, and ask your children if it will help to invite others on a trip to go hiking or to watch a movie.
Every school has a different approach to teaching, so when you’re choosing schools, look for one that suits the learning style your children are already used to – or, if they’ve been struggling, one that they might engage with more successfully. Talk to the teachers about any specific challenges your children face – they will usually be ready to help you work around those without making too big a deal out of them.
When you’re buying a new house, you can’t always be sure when the deal is going to be finalized, so while it’s ideal to let kids start school at the beginning of a new year, it’s not always practicable. That can mean kids are not at the same stage of learning as others in the class. Private tuition can help a great deal if they need to catch up, and it’s often worth asking teachers if they can have the option of reading a book rather than getting bored going over a subject they already know well.
All these challenges are magnified if you’re relocating abroad, especially to a country where the native language is other than English. That’s one of the reasons why parents prefer Stamford when looking for a school in Hong Kong because they know their children can continue to study in English with a curriculum that is familiar to them.. One of the biggest challenges presented by international schools is that kids come and go all the time, so friendships can be ended abruptly, but the rich cosmopolitan experience these institutions provide adds a valuable extra dimension to education.
Fitting in at a new school without any difficulty requires confidence, so the most important thing you can do is to express confidence in your children and to assure them that they can do it.