Child Health, Family Health Tamar Raucher | 6 years ago

New School Survival Tips

If you’ve ever moved and had to start over at a new school, you can easily recall feelings of self-doubt and uncertainty. For such moments, Oscar Wilde shared a wise piece of advice: “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”

Starting a new school is a universal experience, and getting through those feelings of anxiety and nervousness is a kind of rite of passage. “As parents, you can help support your children through this transition by making sure they feel an abundance of love and security at home within their family unit,” says Angela Vandegrift, MD, of Carolinas HealthCare System’s Davidson Clinic. This can be done by talking with your children about their feelings, giving them plenty of structure, and helping them find opportunities to venture out and make new connections.


Nervousness is normal Tell them about your first-day-school experience. Describe how you felt and how over time you made new friends and that the nervousness does go away (for the most part). Fresh start Emphasize the positives of starting over somewhere new. Explain how they have a book of blank pages ahead of them and so many amazing adventures to fill in. That’s always exciting. Hear them out Encourage them to talk about their fears, ask open-ended questions and listen. Sometimes feeling understood is more important than receiving advice. Be yourself Leading up to the big day, share some extra praise with your child. Giving honest, positive reinforcement will boost their confidence. “While positive and open communication is vitally important to setting your child up for success, there are also simple but effective things you can do to help your child prepare for a new school experience,” says Dr. Vandegrift.


Take a school tour Get the lay of the land by strolling through the hallways, meeting with the teacher and looking in the classrooms. Set a routine Make structure and physical health a priority. Be sure your kids go to bed at the same time each night, eat breakfast every day, get plenty of exercise and eat healthfully to ensure they’re feeling their best. Explore the new hood Check out extracurricular activities around town and at school, and get them excited to join in the fun. Foster social confidence Practice social skills so they’re set up to make friends quickly and welcome new friends into your home. Do this by practicing introducing yourself. Sounds funny, but this kind of role-playing around the dinner table can help!    

Download our "Swell" guide for a full list of wellness activities that will keep you and your family feeling great now and throughout the school year.

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