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How to help your child settle into a new school

Starting at a new school is often the hardest part of moving abroad for children. Going to a new school in a foreign country comes with many changes. They have to make new friends, get to know new teachers, and become familiar with a new system. It can be especially difficult for teenagers, though there are things you can do to help. This Pacific Prime Latin America article discusses how to help children settle into school when moving somewhere new.

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Take a tour of the school

If your child is joining at the start of the school year or semester, it’s ideal to visit the school together before the first day. School administrators typically encourage school tours since they allow parents and children to ask any questions and see the campus for themselves.

But if you’re wondering how to help a teenager adjust to a new school, you might find they want to visit the school without you there. In this situation, the school can arrange for another teen to guide them so they can get to know another student. Simply encourage them to visit if the school allows it.

Are you moving to Mexico? Read our guide to education in Mexico for facts about education in Mexico. 

Ensure they know how to get to and from school

Your child should know the route to and from school if they’re planning on taking public transportation or walking to school. Ensure they’re familiar with the pick-up times and locations if they’re taking a bus. You can discuss carpool options with the school administrator or see if they can arrange for your child to walk with another student.

Additionally, make sure your child knows your address and home telephone number to be safe. You should also leave an emergency contact number with the school in case they can’t reach you.

Organize a get-together with your neighbors

Families who move during school holidays, like summer or winter break, can get to know their neighbors by hosting a friendly get-together. This is ideal if there are children in your area who are around your child’s age. That way, your child will have the opportunity to get to know other children in the neighborhood.

Not only will this ease the transition to a new school, but it’ll give you peace of mind as a parent too. You’ll also get to know other parents and be able to find out more about local living.

Accompany your kid on their first day

If you can, go with your child on their first day of school. It gives you the chance to meet their teachers and offers an unparalleled sense of security. Are you worried about your child struggling to settle at school? You can ask the teacher to assign them a buddy, though some schools will already have a system like this in place. If you have any other concerns or issues you’d like to address with the teacher, the first day is a perfect time.

Talk about the experience

The first few weeks at a new school can be especially challenging. Parents may find their children acting differently than they had expected. Keep communication open by taking time to discuss their experience and how they’re adjusting.

Watch out for signs that your child isn’t adjusting, such as changes in eating or sleeping habits and tantrums. You may want to schedule a one-on-one meeting with teachers if that’s the case.

Encourage them to put themselves out there

Having activities to enjoy and friends to hang out with can make the transition much easier for your child. When talking with your child, ask them about their new friends. Suggest a playdate or sleepover with their new buddy. If the idea sounds exciting, call their parents to set it up. You could also offer to drive them somewhere, such as the movie theater or mall.

Check out clubs and activities they can join through school or a community center. When signing up for classes, be sure not to go overboard. Focus on one or two activities that they’re likely to enjoy and could help them make friends.

Remember that adjustments can take time

Every child will handle changes differently. Remember that adjusting to a new country, home, school, and friends likely won’t happen overnight. Allow your child to get comfortable in their own way and realize that it could be months before they feel settled. Along with giving your child that time, be sure to give it to yourself too. You’ll all feel much more at home in no time.

Keep your family healthy with Pacific Prime Latin America

When moving to Latin America with your family, you’re going to want to ensure you have family health insurance to cover medical costs while you’re in the area. Whether you’re looking for the best family health insurance in Mexico or other types of health insurance, look no further than Pacific Prime Latin America.

As a leading health insurance broker, we compare health insurance in Mexico to help you find the right plan for your needs and budget. Contact us for impartial advice and a free quote today.

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Senior Copywriter at Pacific Prime Latin America
Jantra Jacobs is a Senior Copywriter at Pacific Prime with over 10 years of writing and editing experience. She writes and edits a diverse variety of online and offline copy, including sales and marketing materials ranging from articles and advertising copy to reports, guides, RFPs, and more.

Jantra curates and reports on the results of Pacific Prime’s monthly newsletters, as well as manages Pacific Prime’s Deputy Global CEO’s LinkedIn posts. Complemented by her background in business writing, Jantra’s passion for health, insurance, and employee benefits helps her create engaging content - no matter how complex the subject is.

Growing up as a third-culture kid has given her a multicultural perspective that helps her relate to expats and their families while 8 years of working remotely have given her unique insight into hybrid work arrangements and enthusiasm for employee benefits.
Jantra Jacobs