How to help a teenager to settle into a new school? 7 useful advice from psychologists

How to help a teenager to settle into a new school? 7 useful advice from psychologists

For an adult and independent person the change of surroundings is a stressful situation. But for a teenager unfamiliar faces, the change of social circle, various standards of education and grading may become a challenge beyond his strengths: indeed, a child not only faces the changes, but misses the old school’s company as well.


The parents’ task is to make the adaptation process as easy as possible, but only few of them know, how to help the child to settle into a new school, and just leave the situation as it is, excusing themselves with “his not a baby, will cope on his own”. Such negligence often results in stresses and psychological problems.

It’s surprising, but our almost grown up kids cope with the “new school” problem much worse than the little ones, who, unlike middle and junior classes’ students, jump at newcomers in their company. And this has nothing to do with your teenager’s character; indeed, in many cases, the former live wire and leader couldn’t find his place in a new group and found himself at the bottom of school hierarchy. Moreover, timid and shy boys and girls particular need their parents’ support.

There can be numerous reasons for changing schools, starting from finding a more prestigious educational institution up to moving to other city or area. But whatever the reason, do your best to organize everything in order to let your child visit a new school from the beginning of the academic year. In this case, not only your child will have to get used to the rhythm of school life; his future classmates will also be a bit at a loss after long summer holidays and it will be easier to join the class at this time.

The change topic – is not a taboo

By no means make a secret out of forthcoming change of the educational institution. This should be an opened and discussed topic. Despite the fact that changing schools is a common case and, according to statistics, every third child faces this situation, opposition and negative attitude from his side are absolutely normal as well. Thus, if your child is going to attend a new school, the best you can do is to prepare him to this changes.

Try to involve the child in the process of choosing a new school as much as possible. If it goes about moving to another area or city and there are several educational institutions that meet your requirements, the best way out is to let your child (especially if we talk about a teenager) choose a future place of study on his own. To do this, make a list of suitable schools, discuss their peculiarities, consider advantages and disadvantages. This will make your almost grown up child much happier, because it’s very important for him to know that you regard his wishes, take his opinion and needs into consideration.

Here are several pieces of advice that can help to come to terms with the necessary change:

• discuss the need for change beforehand;
• provide all the information in the positive way;
• ask your child to write tree lists: with his expectations, needs and concerns, related to a new school.

After discussing the forthcoming change of school and allowing your child to express his concerns and negative feelings, you will be able to look at the situation from his point of view. By showing your own attitude to the matter of changing places, you will comfort him and will give an opportunity to get used to the changes.

Reconnoiter the ground

Collect as much information about the chosen educational institution as possible. Moreover, it’s not a problem in the age of digital technologies. The most schools have their own web-site and groups on social networks, which allow to study their educational concept, studying programs and plans and information on the forthcoming events, such as Doors Open Day. In most cases, from such Internet resources you can get not only the names senior management of the school and teachers, but their photos and short biography as well. It’s hard to deny that this information will be very useful before visiting the school.

Your mini-research should also include a possible route that your child will use to get to school. Try to choose the most optimized one for him.


You don’t have to browse web-sites all alone; your child will also be interested in finding more information about his future place of studies, to see photos and videos from the open lessons, school extracurricular and sport events.

Visit the chosen school together with your child

Make sure to get to know the school director and future homeroom teacher. If possible, discuss with them if further meetings are possible during the first weeks after the academic year starts in order to find out how it is going. In some schools there is an adaptation strategy for newcomers, ask if there are any in your school.

Be sure to ask about the necessity to buy school books, school and sport uniform. In many educational institutions this matters are strictly formalized.

If the students are allowed to wear what they want, discuss with the homeroom teacher, what the students of this school usually wear. You know that the first impression is of great importance, and your child will look strange in a formal suit in a new school, where most students wear jeans and chucks. His appearance shouldn’t become the reason for mockery.

The child’s adaptation in a new school will be easier if you will study its territory and planning together with him. This will help to find the most important objects, such as gym, dining hall, medical room, library and so on. The first day is often accompanied with nervousness and confusion; such an excursion will help to avoid unpleasant situation and make your child more self-confident.

If the child has any special requirements, discuss available supporting programs with the school management. If the language of instruction is not native for the child, ask about programs and services that can make the process of adaptation easier. If possible, receive the class timetable, in order to be able to control academic progress and keep the track of events.

Discuss with the child the future route to school and back. Show the place, where you will pick him up, where is the nearest public transport station, what types of public transport are available. If you plan to allow your child to reach school alone, it will be a good idea to make a trial attempt. Find out about extracurricular clubs and sections, which your child can attend.

Help to form the social circle

When the child has changed schools, for the parents it’s very important to help him to form a new social circle. To do that, if possible, let your child join the school summer camp, the nearby clubs and sections before the academic year starts. Your teenager will feel more confident when seeing familiar faces in the same class.

According to psychologists’ opinion, parents should do their best to help the child to maintain relations with former classmates. If you have just moved to another area, invite them to your place or suggest going to the cinema or for a walk together. When leaving for another city or country, remind your child to leave his friends his social networks and messengers contacts, as well as the post address. In this case, it will be easier to adapt to a new school; indeed, the social circle will be the same, only the class will change.


You should also support communication with new classmates. You may allow to invite them to your home, or even throw a small party or pizza-party, celebrating new acquaintance. However, by no means should this event look like you are trying to buy friendship and attention.

If the class, for example, has the habitual tradition to go to the cinema or have a picnic every weekend, encourage your child to visit these events. You planned visit to granny or a trip to the country house may easily be shifted to any other day. However, it’s recommended to encourage only positive traditions. For example, if the class regularly skips the physical education lessons and instead of it drinks bear in the yard nearby, you should do everything possible to terminate such relations, up to meeting the homeroom teacher and school management.

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