Whether your child is graduating from high school, transferring to a new school, or going to the next grade, he/she will eventually need to adjust to change. Making new friends and adjusting to a different routine can be both intimidating and challenging for some children. It takes time and encouragement for kids to adapt to a new environment. And the more capable they are of handling that change, the better they will be able to learn. Below are several strategies that will help your child make an effortless transition to their new school/classroom.

Get involved in a summer program

Sports camps and academic programs allow children to meet new people and adjust to a routine. The YMCA of Chicago runs summer camps where students follow a daily schedule and learn team-building activities. These skills will be useful for your child when they have to manage their time and work with others during the school year. Certain academic programs, like Chicago Public Library’s Wrapped Up in Reading, expose your child to books they will encounter throughout their school career. Therefore, invest in a program that will allow your child to reap the benefits even when summer ends.

Find a school-buddy before school starts

Have you ever attended a party where you didn’t know anyone there, and then, all of a sudden, you happen to see a familiar face? Oh, the feeling of sweet relief! Well, your child can feel a little less pressure if he/she befriends a schoolmate before the first day of school. Find out which students already attend your child’s new school. Upon discovering this, befriend their parents and set up a play date between their child and yours. Allow them to get together a few times over the summer. If they become friends, all the better. At the very least, your child will feel comfortable approaching someone their first day of school to ask directions from or sit with at lunch.

Brainstorm ways to handle situations

The start of a new school year brings new school “issues.” For example, in pre-school, kids are learning to share, and in elementary school, kids are starting to form cliques. Brainstorm ways to handle these expected occurrences with your child. You may want to teach your fourth-grader how to react to best friends who say they no longer want to sit with him/her at lunch. Share with your high-schooler ways to confidently refuse drugs and sex. Discuss these things often, and don’t be put off by your child’s reluctance. Also, remember to include your child in the discussion. Inevitably, they are in charge of implementing these tactics.

Establish a relationship with teachers

This is one of the most rewarding ways to ensure your child’s successful transition. Great teachers spend countless hours preparing ways to make their classrooms safe and nurturing for each student. Help them out by telling them things besides what’s on your child’s cumulative record. If your child is shy, let them know that. If your child needs help working with teammates, make them aware of that, too. Let them know your child’s interests, weaknesses, and strengths. By giving your child’s teacher the heads-up, they can create ways to make him/her feel better about being the new student.

Join teams/organizations

From basketball to basket weaving, you will find that more grammar schools and high schools have clubs and sports teams that get students encouraged about learning. Joining a club is one way your child can make new friends and hone their interest. Participating in school organizations is especially beneficial for timid students who could use a connection before introducing themselves. Being a part of a school club also allows your child to meet friends outside of school when participating in regional and state-wide competitions.

Keep contact with old friends

If your child is changing schools, one of their biggest grievances may be that they are leaving their friends behind. This does not have to be the case. Teach you child to value friendship by encouraging them to continue their relationships with old schoolmates. Buy your child stationery and stamps, and let them write to their old school buddies. Although a phone call seems more convenient, writing spreads enough time out between correspondence so your child can make new friends while appreciating old ones.

In this world, change is expected. With schools closing and parents having better options about school choice, it is beneficial for you and your child to know how to make a smooth transition to a new environment. Use the tips above, and have a successful start to a new school year.