Tips for Coping with the Transition to a New Home and School

Kacey Mya | Coping Skils | Lose The Cape

Psychologists say that some of the biggest, most stressful events in our lives are moves. We seem to be hardwired for routine—we love things that are familiar. That old coffee shop you always go to with your girlfriend, or that neighborhood playground you take the kids to on Sunday afternoon. Adjusting to a new area means a new set of streets to navigate for you—and a whole new world to adjust to for your kids.

A new school brings on a whole new set of challenges. Because kids sometimes spend 8 hours or more at their school, everything in their environment matters. The teachers, colors of the walls, the playground and who they sit next to in class all have profound effects on your child. Part of growing up is learning to navigate difficult situations and obstacles, but there are several things you can do to ease their transition and make them feel at home in a new place.

Something Old in Something New

It may be a new house, but it’s the same comfy sofa. Step one for an easy transition is not replacing all of your old things at once if you plan to. Sometimes the comfort of familiar objects is enough to make a house feel like a home.

It’s best to allow your child to choose the things he or she would like to keep in their room, and let them decide what objects are important to them. Even if it’s ratty, put up with that comforter for a while longer if your daughter loves it, or let your son keep that giant stuffed animal. Being able to recognize their space as familiar can help the transition to a new room feel less uprooting.

Involve Your Kids in Decorating

Your children have unique, personal tastes, and while maybe underdeveloped or not quite that “minimalist chic” you were going for, involving the whole family in decorating your new house or kitchen will keep everyone equally invested. If a child or teenager feels like they played a part in making their home look the way it does, they will be more willing to take ownership over the space.

This applies with their rooms and things, too. Try to allow you kids to determine what their room looks like as much as possible. What looks like trash or clutter to you is treasure to them. Enforcing healthy habits like taking care of their things and cleaning up after play time is all good and well, but if the doll collection just has to be displayed on the bookshelf, it might has well just stay there.

Pick Your Battles

Knowing how and when to pick your battles with your kids will aid in their transition, and may ultimately benefit your relationship with them. With so much change going on around them, your children will want to control as much as they can.

A good example might be their first day of school outfit. Allowing your children to pick their outfits gives them control over their appearance. They can’t control where they live now, or what school they’re attending, but they can control what they wear—and that provides a bit of comfort.

If children become overwhelmed with their lack of control, you may run into dietary problems. Kids will often stop eating to exercise control in traumatic situations, so it’s best to allow them to control other things in their lives so their diets don’t suffer. Your kids may often become prone to stress eating, and we all know what that’s like. Be sensitive to their emotional needs as well as your own.

Support Your Child’s School

If you’ve ever met a teacher, you’ve probably been able to tell that their job is overwhelming. Showing your support by making his or her job easier—whether it be with a back to school gift or making sure your child does his or her homework—will ultimately set your kid up for success.

By providing kids with the opportunity to pick something out for their teacher, you are giving them the opportunity to develop a relationship with them right off the bat. The act of offering a gift to their teacher puts their heart in the right place from day one! Here are a few things your child’s principal won’t tell you to inspire a bit of empathy this school year.

Moving Day

Packing up and moving in is daunting for everyone involved. Try your best to make the experience an adventure, and be cognizant of incorporating things your kids will enjoy. Pack plenty of treats and snacks, and maybe stop midday to do something fun. There are several other ways to eliminate stress and enjoy your move, and letting a moving company help your family will allow you to spend more time together and adjust emotionally—without the heavy lifting.

Ultimately, being a friend to everyone in your family will help them cope with the transition to a new home and school the best. A family unit is best when it’s working together, so focus on uniting your loved ones above all, and making your new house everyone’s home!


{For more support to help kids cope, check out Coping Skills for Kids, a Lose the Cape Sponsor.}