Make Direct Contact With the School Before Your Move
You need as much information as possible to help your family settle in. When you know what school district you will be in and which schools your kids will be geographically assigned to, reach out to the administrators of that school. Ask questions about:
- Transportation. Will children be bussed to school from your new address? If you have employment, you’ll get a better feel for your morning schedule if you know the pickup times for students.
- Bell times. When does school begin and end? How are drop-offs and pickups handled?
- Class options. If your kids take specialty courses now, you’ll want to see if those can be continued. For example, if your student is currently enjoying a Spanish immersion program, you might want to continue the same structure if possible.
- Extracurriculars. If your child is interested in sports and music, you’ll want to see what options the school offers. Does it have a marching band? Debate team? Wrestling club? When matching programs aren’t available, look for alternatives that could fill the void.
You’ll only get this specific information by calling ahead and making plans. If possible, learn the names of your children’s potential teachers and their emails. You can email the teacher directly for questions about curriculum focus and classroom structure. If your child has an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) for special needs, this previous contact may be essential for successful integration.
Encourage Immediate Involvement
You may be tempted to tell your kids that you want to take a few weeks to settle down after moving before starting any school activities. However, jumping right in can make socializing and adapting easier.
As soon as possible, start your child in the offered programs and after-school activities. The sooner they can get busy and get involved, the shorter the period of time they will be the new kid at school who doesn’t know anyone.
You should also get involved as soon as you can. Early on, you could ask to volunteer in your child’s classroom to help make the adjustment go more smoothly. Research indicates that parental volunteers help to improve positive self-esteem and encourage academic achievement in the classroom. Since they’re moving during the school year and are new to the class, your child especially needs these benefits.
For teens in high school, you might attend PTA meetings or meet personally with educators to discuss your child’s goals for the future, including testing and college preparation.
Consider Moving Services
Many people pack their own belongings and even rent their own moving truck in order to save money on a move. However, with a complete DIY job, the tradeoff you pay is in your time before and after the move. If you’re moving during the school year, you probably don’t want to make that payoff.
With the help of a full-service professional mover, you have more flexibility during your move time. For example, you may want to move out during a Thanksgiving break or over spring break but worry that you won’t have enough time.
If you leave the packing and the hauling to the movers, however, you can get to the new city and new school on schedule and wait for your belongings to arrive.
You might also consider putting your things in storage, especially if you have limited time to unpack. If you have a temporary storage unit, you can spend the week focusing on school and gradually unpack boxes on the weekend without having to live in chaos.
Consider the Buddy System
If you’re all new to the area, you might feel like fish out of water. Some schools or communities offer buddy families that can help you to navigate all the ins and outs of the school system and community events.
Contact the local community center or school resource counselor and ask if any families volunteer for this service. Ideally, choose a family with children the same age as your children, giving your child an immediate confidant during the first few days.
If the community doesn’t offer this service, you can also check with local church congregations. Some churches offer welcome services for new families.
Take Your Time
Finally, all hard transitions take time; that includes moving during the school year. Children may not adjust well at first, and they might struggle with the new work and the new people. If needed, see a counselor to help the change go more smoothly. Listen to frustrations your child expresses, and take them seriously.
Meet with teachers regularly during the first few months to see how your child is adapting to the classroom. Address social and academic struggles early with the help of the school guidance counselor.
Hopefully these tips make moving during the school year easier on both you and your kids. For more information on how to make your move go as smoothly as possible, contact us at Bekins Van Lines, Inc.