Q: Our daughter’s parochial school has closed! necessitating a huge change in school venues for her, something we’d not prepped her for. We are thinking public school, so as to make local friends (next parochial schools to consider 45 minutes away). Any advice you can offer about helping her make this transition is welcome. She and I are visiting the school Thurs and checking out their summer “school” options. *sigh* I’m so sad about our beloved little school closing.
A: So sad for your daughter that the school is closing! What will help your daughter sort of depends on what you see as her usual coping style. It sounds like you’re doing all the right things already, by bringing her to her new school to help her know what to expect. Helping her be sad and stay connected to the old school is good (maybe make some art project to commemorate her time there, maybe have a reunion club?) and then helping her feel confident about starting at a new school and making friends (which you can remind her she’s done before, when she first started school; you can also tell a story about someone she knows, or else a about someone who’s her age, who went through something similar, e.g. “When I first started this new job, I was kind of nervous about what my boss would be like and whether I would make any friends, and even what it would be like! But here’s what I did…” or “I remember when a new kid joined my class when I was in 5th grade, and here’s what he did to make new friends that really worked…”). If she needs an added boost, connect with the school social worker to see what kinds of supports they have in place. They probably have some orientation for new students, and possibly a buddy program to help her get started. Say goodbye to the old, get prepared for the new, and let her know that you have confidence in her, and she’ll do fine!