1. Meet the neighbors
The combination of no school, warm temperatures, and short nights means that many families spend their summer evenings playing outside. Take advantage of this opportunity to get to know your neighbors; even if you don’t have kids the same age, they can give you tips and tricks about the local schools as well as help connect you with potential playmates for your children. Most neighborhoods will have at least one or two other children the same age as your kid. Even if they won’t be in the same class, starting a new school can feel less intimidating when you already have several friends.
2. Go to summer school
Many schools offer summer enrichment programs or day camps on campus. Signing up for these programs not only helps your child be more familiar with their new school building, but it can also help them meet new children who will be attending school with them in the fall.
3. Sign up for sports
Signing up for a local sports team is another great way to make connections with other students and families. As sports teams are grouped by area and age, there is a good chance your child will be on a team with students from their new school - if not their new class.
4. Get involved at the new school
Joining parent groups such as the PTO can be an additional support as children acclimate to a new school. This benefits both parents and children; as parents meet other adults with similarly-aged children, playdates and other outings can be easily arranged. Likewise, joining a parent group will show your child you are also interested in learning about their new teachers and school.
5. Take a trial run
The days leading up to the start of a new school year are stressful for everyone, but doubly so for those starting a new school. To make the first day more enjoyable, try taking a trial run; about a week before school starts, practice everything you are going to do the first morning. Set your alarm and wake up at the new time, get ready and practicing walking to school or the bus stop. If time permits, drive to the school so they can get more familiar with the route and any landmarks along the way. Likewise, take advantage of any open houses or meet the teacher nights the school hosts as a way to explore and get familiar with their new school and classroom.