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Smooth Sailing: Navigating a new school journey

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

Moving to a new school can be an overwhelming experience. This change is even more challenging when it involves going to a different country. As parents, there are several strategies you can employ to help your child navigate this transition successfully. Here are some valuable tips and ideas that can be of immense assistance during this crucial phase.

Validating feelings

It is completely normal for children to experience emotions like sadness, anxiety, or nervousness during times of change. Let your child know that their feelings are valid and understandable. Encourage open expression of emotions and offer empathy. By acknowledging shared feelings, you can instill confidence that they can manage and maintain a positive attitude throughout the transition.

Stay positive and be a role model

As a parent, your attitude and behavior greatly influence how your child perceives and approaches the transition to a new school. Stay positive and demonstrate resilience throughout the process. Highlight the opportunities and exciting aspects of the change. Be a role model by showcasing adaptability and a willingness to embrace new experiences.

Open communication

Maintaining clear and reassuring communication from the moment you discuss the decision to move until you settle in your new location is vital. Encourage your children to ask questions and express their concerns. Addressing their uncertainties will help alleviate stress. Consider creating a checklist to keep track of their queries and the progress made in resolving them.

Solution-focused approach

Sit down with your children and brainstorm a list of potential problems or concerns they might have about changing schools or moving to a new country. Together, discuss practical solutions for each issue. Highlight the aspects that are under control and offer reassurance. For example, plan activities such as creating farewell cards or scheduling video calls with their friends at the new destination.

Empowering sense of control

Although we can't predict everything, there are still aspects of the relocation process that can be controlled or anticipated. Involve your children in decision-making, allowing them to choose items they want to bring along, donate, or give to a friend. Let them have a say in decorating their new room or organizing a farewell party. This active participation will enhance their sense of control and ownership of the transition.

Plan for future moves

If more moves are expected in the future, involve your child in the planning process. Discuss potential moves, share information, and encourage them to research and learn about future destinations. By including them in the planning, you'll instill a sense of preparedness and curiosity, making future transitions smoother and less stressful.

Additionally, here are some recommended resources that can assist you and your child during this phase:


  • The New Bear at School" by Carrie Weston (Author) and Tim Warnes (Illustrator)

  • "The Goodbye Book" by Todd Parr

  • "Sammy’s Next Move" by Helen Maffini

Internet resources

Remember, with your support and understanding, your children can successfully navigate this transition and thrive in their new school. By implementing these strategies, you will help ease their worries and foster a positive and confident outlook on their new educational journey.

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