At this time of year it is very common for families with school age children to be moving house.



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If a change of school is on the cards, many parents prefer it to coincide with the beginning of the school year.

Changing schools at any age can be a daunting prospect – both for the child and their parents.

For the child, they are faced with saying goodbye to old friends and a familiar social circle and then showing up at a new school where they don’t know a soul.

For the parents, they often are also having to establish themselves in a new community and additionally feel apprehensive for their children facing what can be a challenging situation.

The good news is that there are some easy things you can do to help ease any anxiety about starting a new school as well as settling into a new community.

Here are some tips:

1) Keep an open line of communication

This is probably the most important thing you can do. Even if your child is excited about changing schools there is still bound to be a lot of apprehension mixed in with the excitement.

Talk openly to your child about the upcoming change of school and ask them about any positive or negative feelings they may be having.

Keep them informed about what is happening and try to involve them in the decision making process where possible.

2) Be enthusiastic

Although there are a lot of negative emotions associated with starting a new school, it will help your child enormously if you try and focus on some of the positives.

Many children will be excited about the prospect of a fresh start and a chance to make new friends.

Point out all the good things that may be coming about as a result of changing schools. For instance, maybe the new school has excellent sport facilities if you have a sports-mad child, or maybe they can offer a specialised reading program if your child is an avid reader.

3) Saying goodbye is important

For most kids, saying goodbye to old friends is the hardest part about changing schools. This is especially true for long-distance or interstate moves where they will no longer see their friends on a regular basis. Discuss ways that your child can keep in touch with their friends. Luckily with modern technology it’s easier than ever to do so. Great ways to maintain connections are skype, facetime, email, messenger and for novelty value you could always suggest snail mail! Another good idea is throwing a going away party for your child and their friends, this is something for them to look forward to and a nice way to celebrate their friendships.

4) Research the new school

Where possible, make a point of visiting your child’s new school together to have a look around so your child can familiarise themselves with their surroundings before their first day.

It’s a great idea to meet new teachers and the principal too. Many schools new have websites which your child may find useful to browse as well.

Research sports teams and extracurricular activities available through the school as they may be a valuable way to help your child integrate into their new environment. For children, establishing their place in a social circle takes a lot of work and the thought of starting again from scratch is terrifying. They are bound to be worried about not making friends and feeling lonely at their new school.

Ask the school if there is a ‘buddy’ system available so your child has someone to help them negotiate their initial days at the new school.

5) Setting in

Once your child has started at their new school, try to keep an open dialogue on how they are doing. Let them know that it may take some time to settle into their new school and make good friends and that it’s okay to be feeling a little lonely in the beginning.

Encourage them to take up activities that they like doing as a way of meeting like-minded kids.

Reminding your child to keep up contact with their old friends is important, especially as they will provide a source of support and familiarity for your child at this time.

The good news is, it’s a well known fact that kids are extremely adaptable and resilient so in many cases, it’s harder on the parents watching from the sidelines than it is for their child.

A good way to feel involved and support your child is to become involved with the school – it’s also a great way to meet other parents. There are plenty of opportunities when schools require parental volunteers if that is something you are able to do or helping out at weekend school fundraisers is also a great way to bond with other parents and kids.

Do you have any other tips to add to the list? Please SHARE in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

  • Great ideas. Thanks for the article.


  • Thanks for the tips. We had to move when our kids were in year 1 and year 3. They adjusted easy enough. We are facing another move in the next 12 months and with 3 kids at school (2 at high school), there is a lot more apprehension and nerves. We’re trying to decide if the move can be avoided because of stability of schooling. Time will tell.


  • Great points here – but having moved through a few schools during my childhood, I have made a conscious decision to ensure my children won’t have to do this.


  • Some very useful tips for that big change on the first day. Despite the preparation I think that nothing really beats those nerves of something new. But hopefully to everyone parent and their child I hope that it’s not to bad and that their child enjoys that first day of school! I’m dreading that day :( and my boy is only just about 1!


  • Normally the teachers and principal return from school holidays a few days before the pupils do.
    Parents normally go to the school and enrol children at their new school during that time. Hopefully a teacher or other staff member is available to show the new pupils where the toilets and other rooms such as the library, canteen, first aid room and staff member responsible in an emergency. It helps if a new class member doesn’t have to ask where absolutely everything is.


  • Great tips. I think the more positive and laid back you are as a parent, the easier your children will take it as well.

    • Absolutely! Kids take so many cues from their parents so a positive attitude from you will really help them.

      • Children do pick up on positive energy from their parents and other important adults in their lives.


  • Good tips, and may I add, getting to know your neighbourhood and the children in it will also help the transition.

    • I agree, it’s a great idea to get to know your new neighbourhood.


  • Good ideas for moving schools. It is not only the new school but the size of the new school. My oldest 2 moved from a school with 4 classes of each grade to a a school with only 2 teachers with a junior class and a senior class. That school was so friendly and was good for my boys. With most states now having the same start year for primary and high school things are lot easier.
    My self I went to 11 primary school, 4 in one year, I learnt that it was easier to not make friends as you have to leave them soon.


  • For us it was about the kids having a holiday before they started a new school and the teachers being amazing


  • My daughter changed school 3 times. The first time we waited indeed for her to end Year 3 to move. A lot easier on her. The program for the year was finished. We moved interstate during Christmas time. We traveled by campervan so the adventure of the trip kind of compensated with the sadness of leaving old friends behind.
    In Year 4 she went for 6 months to one school and then we bought a house and we moved where we now live. Even if was for a short time, maybe because she was older, she suffered more than the previous time. Luckily the new school was amazing, with a lot of great kids who welcomed her into her new class. Her 10th birthday came just one month after starting school here, and that was also a great way to meet some of her new friends in a family setting.

    • It’s so nice when the kids at the new school are welcoming and inclusive, it makes all the difference.

      • Absolutely. It can really make the difference between having a wonderful or a terrible year!


  • great information. also take it slow in those first few days back at school and let the children, just be children. let them warm up to the big new adjustment and don’t make them feel bad if they say that they hate it. when they start making friends, they will be happier.

    • Yes definitely. If they say they don’t like it that’s perfectly ok! It’s scary starting at a new school and most kids take a little while to settle in and feel comfortable.


  • Moving can be difficult as a child and starting a new school even more difficult and these are all good strategies. Becoming involved in activities is such a good idea and a good way to make connections with others and to keep minds active too.


  • Fantastic information. I remember changing schools when I was little. My parents must have done it right, as I don’t recall anything bad


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