There are many reasons why a child may move to a new school outside of the expected transition to secondary school.
Your child may be unhappy at school or it could simply be that you are moving home so need to change school due to relocating. Perhaps your child may not be allowed to stay at the school they currently attend due to their behaviour and has been asked to move on.
Some of those decisions will have been made for them and others may be a choice made between parent and child. Regardless of the reason, your child will be changing schools so you need to make sure that the transition process is as painless as it could possibly be.
For most parents and children, the biggest concern will be getting them settled into the new school and for them to make new friends. Making friends is not easy for everyone especially when they are the new kid on the block and everyone is already in their friendship groups.
Making Friends after Changing Schools
So how can parents help children to make friends when they change schools? Have a chat with them and discuss how they will make new friends. You could talk about:
- How will they choose their friends? They’ll be getting to know a lot of new children so how do they decide which ones they want to know better?
- What kind of conversations do they need to have in order to get to know people? Think about what their potential friends are interested in or any hobbies they have. What do they have in common they can chat about.
- How do they need to act? How can they fit in? Now your child should be themselves and not change themselves for others but at the same time, they don’t want to be an outsider by acting in a way the group doesn’t expect.
- Your child may say they don’t want to make friends as they may be nervous about doing so. If they are, remind them of how they have made friends before and practise together the different conversation openers and the types of questions they could ask their peers.
- The other children may be very curious about the new child in their class and will want to ask them trillions of questions. If they’re keen to make friends, encourage your child to be open-minded about where those conversations and friendships could go. The other children may turn out to be their best friends but they won’t know unless they talk to them and allow them into their space.
Some children have deeper issues with making new friends because they may not believe that they are worthy or that their peers would be interested in them. If this sounds like your child, read up on strategies to boost their self-esteem so they feel good before starting the new school and are reminded of how amazing they are.
Children always are inquisitive about the ‘new child’ and they will undoubtedly be interested in finding out more about them. It takes time to settle when changing schools but they will do and, before long, will have someone they can count on as a friend.