Moving? Tips to help your child with the transition
When moving to a new neighborhood and school, the key to success is understanding your child's temperament.
By Dr. Ron Taffel, Family Therapist
You are about to take on a double whammy — moving to a new neighborhood and a new school. Many parents dread this double-edged transition, but despite the significant challenges, there are a few steps you can take to ensure that your child has the best chance of doing well.
Understand your child's temperament
The key to success is to accurately understand your child's temperament when it comes to transitions. Children do not act in similar ways to the process of change. And, how your child reacts will depends on his temperament, his personality-style.
For example, if you have a child who goes through change easily, you will have noticed early on that he seems fairly adaptive during the endless transitions of childhood. He moves from classroom to classroom easily, birthday party to birthday party without much of a fuss and between play dates without creating a scene. Chances are this kind of child will require little extra preparation, beyond common sense, before entering a new neighborhood and school. Try not to be alarmed by all the hype regarding the inevitable difficulty of such a double transition. Just use your basic instinct as a parent, and you'll probably sail right through.
On the other hand, if your child has shown difficulty with transitions before, you need to put in a bit of extra effort. The best way to successfully prepare is to keep this word in mind — practice! Practicing ahead of time helps your child become familiar with a new situation without needing to face things head on during those frenetic, first days of school. There are a number of painless ways you can create this process of practicing psychologists call "de-sensitization."