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3 schools in 3 years...advice desperately needed


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#1 Wallymaduka

Posted 15 January 2013 - 07:59 PM

Reaching out for some advice or moral support from any parents who've had to deal with something similar - 3 schools in 3 years.

DD will be starting year 2 in yet another school this year, on top of everything she's had to adapt to (messy separation, change of address as many times ect).

Everyone keeps saying it's nothing to worry about, because at her age she'll quickly forget the previous school and make new friends in the new one ect... but I think she's really at a borderline age of knowing exactly what's going on, and therefore at risk of anxiety.  She hasn't fotgotten her friends from pre-primary, let alone year 1.

She doesn't even have any siblings to bounce off.  

Anyone been in a similar situation?  How well did your child adapt?  Are there any tips on how I can make the transiton easier for her?  My thoughts were to join the P&C; get involved in the school as much as possible; spend as much time as I can at the school volunteering ect.

#2 Elizabethandfriend

Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:05 PM

I think you are worrying unnecessarily.  It is likely your DD has developed some skills and resilience through the changes she has already experienced that will help her cope with this one.

And your thoughts on getting very involved in the school sound spot on.

#3 Wallymaduka

Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:23 PM

Thanks Elizabethandfriend, so many people say the same though, and I find it hard to relax when their children are usually the ones who've never had this upheaval.   sad.gif

I do admit to being a bit of a worry-wort sometimes though.

#4 Pop-to-the-shops

Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:29 PM

She will probably get lots of positive attention for being new. I hope it works out well for you.


#5 mumofsky

Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:30 PM

Yep DD didnt like her school in grade 3 so i switched her to a private for grades 4 and 5 then her new school closed down and now shes starting at a new school for grade 6. Next year will obviously be another one!

I'll be honest, Im terrified for her. She doesnt want to go to this new school and she's shy and emotional. But secretly I think she will learn a lot from this experience even if it is hard - she will learn how to enter new and difficult social situations, make new friends, adapt to new teachers and styles. If we can just stick it out and get through the hard days Im confident it will be character building.

To help her adjust, Ive agreed to get her an after school babysitter instead of after school care so that she can at least come home at 3:30.

Im sure your DD will benefit too! original.gif

#6 Eileithyia

Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:41 PM

Not the same but my Ds went to Kindy and Preprimary at one school, yr one at another and yr two at the current school. lots of outside upheaval too. He was fine but is a naturally resistant child.

DD who is younger did kindy and pre primary and one school and yr one at current school. She is very different to DS and struggled much more, became very depressed.

Over all the final arrangement is best for everyone, I spoke to my GP and the school and we all put in a plan for DD to help her through everything going on and how she perceived things. She is doing well now and I am so glad I asked for help.

Get involved with the school, make new friends, encourage her friendships even if you are not a chatty person (chat to other parents)....It may take some time to see that you have done the right thing but it will all fit into place in time.

Edited by At-Your-Cervix, 15 January 2013 - 08:44 PM.


#7 Escapin

Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:46 PM

if you're worried, could you afford to have your daughter see a child psychologist? Someone I know did this after their kid had been dragged from pillar to post getting out of a terrible marriage, and there WERE issues to be sorted out. 'Kids are resiliant blah blah blah' has a lot to answer for I think.

#8 librablonde

Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:55 PM

My parents moved every 12 months until I was in Yr 7. I attended a new school each year from the time I started Kinder. I don't think it damaged me and it did make me a highly adaptable person. OP, I think your DD will be ok. If you think she will develop anxiety issues then perhaps seeking out something like Girl Guides may be good to help her develop confidence. Or perhaps seek out a counsellor if you think it's a serious issue for her. Also, can she Skype with her old friends? I assume she's not ready to start being a pen-pal.... due to me moving around so much as a kid I became a great pen-pal to many of my friends, some of them I keep in contact with still now.

#9 Wallymaduka

Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:03 PM

Thanks everyone.  Escapin yes, I have considered a child psych and will be discussing this with the GP soon.  She's a chronic bed wetter too, so - although appearing to be well adjusted and sociable on the outside - who knows what's going on in her brain, subconsciously.  I just don't know, but my instincts are in over drive at the moment...I'm even having odd dreams about the situation.

mumofsky - that's such a good idea about the babysitter after school.  Ideally - what I'd absolutely love - is the luxury of working part time so I can pick her up from school and allow her the freedom of having a new friend over for a play date.  Oh if only sad.gif    I'm ure that would be a huge help.

The number one focus and new years resolution is to devote as much of my time as possible helping DD adjust to this new change.  Going to be taking time off work every where possible, in order to make this happen.

#10 Fire_fly

Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:03 PM

I moved around a lot as a child. 7 schools in 12 years with 5 of those changes being in the first 4years of my schooling. I wouldn't worry to much. I developed great adaption skills and the ability to make new friends easily. I am not an outgoing person by nature but I have developed these skills.

I would just watch your daughter and let her know you are there for her if she has concerns or worries about anything to do with her new school. I am sure she will adapt quite quickly.

I like the idea of being involved in the school. But I would worry to much. Kids are a lot more resilient that we often give them credit for.

Edited by Fire_fly, 15 January 2013 - 09:03 PM.


#11 JBH

Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:08 PM

I did years 3, 4 and 5 at different schools. I'm not going to lie, it was tough and I never properly integrated into the second or third schools. My situation was a bit different though, as the move to the third school was driven by being unhappy at the second.


Looking back, there were ways we could have managed it better.  In particular, we should have been more assertive about the social side of things. One thing that hit me hard was not being invited to any birthday parties. It was by then about inviting the people who had invited you, but my birthday was late in the year. I should have hosted an Easter party or similar.  It would have been good to invite people to play more often, but i was a bit shy. it would have been a good idea to enrol in an acterschool activity some of the other girls were doing. It's hard (for parents and children) to break into established friendship groups, but it sounds like you're going about it the right way.

#12 Anonemy

Posted 15 January 2013 - 10:42 PM

Op you sound so dedicated and tuned in to your dd. I think you are right to be concerned about her coping. A previous suggestion to see a counsellor specialised in these issues would be great. Would it also be possible to contact the school to see if they could put you in contact with a family whose dd is in the same class as your dd who might be a buddy and familiar face in the first few weeks - or even organise some pre  term 1 play dates. It might also be good to keep in contact with a 1 or 2 of her old school friends.

I hope your dd has a fabulous school year and that you & her make a smooth transition and start to enjoy more stability in the future.

#13 mused

Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:07 PM

I attended three different schools in year 1 & 2 as a result of an inter-state relocation. I was naturally a very shy child and hated change. I can't say I didn't have any trouble fitting in/ making new friends but overall I adapted each time and am definitely not worse off for it at all now. It probably built resilience if anything. With good support from the parent and teacher it can definitely be done successfully.

#14 Xiola

Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:20 PM

I went to 6 different schools in primary school and as a pretty shy and introverted kid it wasn't great for me however I think the fact that you're so interested in making this easy for her and you're actually thinking about her wellbeing will make all the difference and hopefully she'll settle in just nicely original.gif

#15 janeway

Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:26 PM

My daughter did Prep at one school, Grade 1&2 at another , 3/4/5 at another school and now is starting ANOTHER new school for her final year of primary school! This has been mostly due to moving houses & separation issues with her father & I. She does have some anxiety issues, which we have helped resolved with her seeing a psychologist & with her dad being more involved in her life (the more involvement he had=the less anxious she became so I pinpoint her insecurity surrounding her father as a major factor in her anxiety.)

In all honestly, she coped really well. The last move was into a very welcoming & warm catholic school environment that helped her to thrive emotionally. She easily made friends at all schools, but she is generally a great all round kid who does well at school & doesn't care what people think about her. She has some fantastic friends from her old school, but is really looking forward to starting at new school .

On the other hand my other daughter is moving schools after being at the same school for 3 years & is positively sick about it. She cried for months at the mere mention of starting at a new school & refused to go into the classroom on orientation day. She has very slowly started to come around to the idea, but it has been a lot of work! The school has been fantastic in setting things in place to help her transition, so that is a tremendous help.

So in my experience it really depends on the child. My eldest coped well with moving schools, but not with her dad not being around, while my youngest is happy enough to see her dad once every few months, but having to change schools is really upsetting her.

Oh, something that did help my eldest settle in smoothly at her last school is working closely with the welfare coordinator at school. She set my daughter up with like minded kids, gave her activities to help with (feeding the rabbits, helping with lunchtime activities, joining choir) & kept an eye on her



#16 kabailz13

Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:49 PM

DD1 has been to 6 schools and is about to start year 6. She loves being the new kid and with her ASD, it suits her really well.

DS1 has been to 4 schools and is about to start year 2. I don't think changing schools has any negative effect on him.

To contrast, I went to the one school from Kindy to year 9 and then away to boarding school and I HATED it! I was so confident and comfortable being the one who always had people come and go but I never had to do that myself. To then get thrown in the deep end going away to school it was a huge struggle.

That being said, I don't like that my kids have  been to so many schools and we are working out how to give them a stable high school career.

DH went to 8 different schools as a child. He doesn't remember anything bad with any of the changes.

#17 Carrie_zmatik

Posted 16 January 2013 - 06:38 AM

QUOTE (Escapin @ 15/01/2013, 09:46 PM)
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if you're worried, could you afford to have your daughter see a child psychologist? Someone I know did this after their kid had been dragged from pillar to post getting out of a terrible marriage, and there WERE issues to be sorted out. 'Kids are resiliant blah blah blah' has a lot to answer for I think.


I agree. My fathers job meant I moved school every 2 years. I hated it and it effected my education long term but my parents had that 'kids are resiliant' 'kids cope just fine' attitude that so many have, when I wasn't coping or fine.


The difference is you don't have that attitude OP. you are sensitive and switched on to your daughters needs, looking for ways to help her cope, not just saying 'she will be right'. That is the most important thing. It is unfortunate having to swap schools again, but that is life stuff happens, and you will hopefully be able to stay at this new school for a while. Honestly the moving schools was ok until I got to upper primary and it was just awful in high school when so much is about the friendships you have. In these early years she is no doubt a lot more attached to you her loving mum then her friends. It's good to be aware and support her through this change, and with that from you she will be just fine.

#18 threelittlegems

Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:37 AM

Hi OP,

DS1 went to three schools in three years, and started his third school at the start of Grade 2. So the same as your DD.

We did find the transition harder than in the younger levels.

The children already had their friendship groups, and DS1 had a few false starts where he made a friend, but the friends best friend didn't like him, and eventually it failed and he was back to no friends again.

Also, the parents have established friendships and are not as open to new friendships as they are in Grade Prep. So unless your child is super friendly and confident, and you are super friendly and confident, it is more difficult.

Of course, it all depends on the school as well. Our middle school (from mid grade prep to end of grade one) was super friendly and super small, and you could fit in there at any year level.

For us, it hasn't helped that I work full time from home, and don't spend a lot of time at drop off and pick up's hanging around the school yard making friends.

The other issue with DS1 is that he really could have been held back. Academically he is fine, but he has no trouble making friends with the kids in the year level below him, whereas it is more difficult for him in his own year level.

And really, the kids in the class below are on average six months younger than him, and the kids in his class are on average six months older than him.

If I had my time again, I would have put him in at Grade 1 at his new school, instead of Grade 2. No one knew him and it would have been the perfect opportunity.

He also has health issues and misses quite a bit of school, has glasses and a hearing aide. Combined these issues make it a lot harder to fit in. A kid in his class used to tease him about wearing glasses, and the kid teasing him wore glasses himself! For us, the biggest positive change came when DH left work to help me in my business. Before that we had a very stressful, overloaded family life at home. Within a month of DH being home and a calmer and more loving household, DS1 started making more friends and standing up to ridiculous bullies who tease people wearing glasses, and wear glasses themselves  laugh.gif

I think that if you get involved in the school and make the effort with the parents in the school yard, it will help your daughter a great deal.

DS1 is now in Grade 5  and has completed three years at this school. It has been overall a positive experience for him and I am pleased with the school.

Good luck!

Edited by threelittlegems, 16 January 2013 - 08:39 AM.


#19 Wallymaduka

Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:28 AM

Gosh, thank you everyone for your insights and experiences.  It's helped so much.

I'm going to have a chat to my senior boss next week, to see if there's anything I can do from home, or at least propose a ompromise where I can leave a few afternoons earlier so as to make those after school pick ups.

QUOTE
For us, it hasn't helped that I work full time from home, and don't spend a lot
of time at drop off and pick up's hanging around the school yard making friends.


That is the number one issue, as I really noticed the impact from the last school.  At end of the year, I made it to DD's nativity play, and only knew one other parent there...all the rest were mingling in their familiar groups, it was so awkward... the other parent who I did know, was also new at the beginning of the year but within 12 months was so entrenched in the social scene at the school, her child was doing so well ect...I suppose the challenges of being a single full time working Mum is my digressive vent though...  it's up to me to fix it, do something about it, for DD's sake.  It was suggested by a work colleague that I start using up my sick leave accumulated over the last 5 years, for this reason.  Just a few days per term.  Not sure I can reconcile doing that, but will admit it's very tempting...

Thank you everyone.

#20 Julie3Girls

Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:40 AM

How far have you moved? Is there any possibility of maintaining any of the old friendships?

I haven't had my kids do the change of schools, but my DD2 had a close friend move at the end of kinder, then her very best friend moved at the end of yr1, and another close friend at the end of yr2.

At the end of last year (yr3), she was a bit stressed, panicking about who would be leaving her this year.

She still misses the friends, especially the one who left in yr1.  At this age, yes, SOME kids are resiliant, and cope with it fine. Especially as the new kid, you tend to be a bit more interesting.  But kids also can form pretty strong friendship bonds, and it does hurt to have them broken.

So, what it's worth, my advice would be definitely get involved at the school if you can. Encourage new friendships - maybe even have a party a few weeks into school, inviting some of the girls from her class.  You can even get the teacher's help with that, with a list of names.  But if she does have any close friends from the previous school, see if you can keep them in contact for a little bit - if visiting isn't an option, see if you can set them up with emails. Or even something like facetime or skype. Just might give her that bit of security, still having that contact.

#21 Wallymaduka

Posted 16 January 2013 - 10:08 AM

Thanks Julie - that's a great idea, as we haven't moved.  The only problem is that I don't have any contact details.  There was a parent organising coffee mornings from the previous school though, and I'm sure there was an email contact list attached...will go and retrieve that from the in-box.  Hopefully they won't mind my contacting them.

Even just one previous friend.  I agree that this may help DD feel connected.

#22 Julie3Girls

Posted 16 January 2013 - 01:40 PM

QUOTE
that's a great idea, as we haven't moved. The only problem is that I don't have any contact details. There was a parent organising coffee mornings from the previous school though, and I'm sure there was an email contact list attached...will go and retrieve that from the in-box. Hopefully they won't mind my contacting them.

If you haven't moved then that makes it easier original.gif  When DD2's friend moved at the end of yr2, on the last day she handed out little homemade cards (business card size), with her name, address and phone number on it, with a comment about wanting to stay in touch.   So if you can't get in contact via the email list, you could probably take something that in to the school, and ask them to hand them out

#23 liveworkplay

Posted 16 January 2013 - 02:05 PM

I would be feeling like you OP, if it were one of my kids as well. That said, I know my girls (grade 1 and grade 3) LOVE it when they have new kids in their classes and the new ones are treated extra special by all.

#24 roses99

Posted 16 January 2013 - 02:18 PM

Like some other PPs, I went to eight schools in twelve years. I agree that it made me highly adaptable and confident. At that age, kids do (usually) make friends very easily. You can ease her way by speaking to the teacher and seeing if she/he can direct her towards a group of like-minded little girls that she might get on with. My parents did this with my brother and very successfully 'engineered' friendships that have become lifelong friendships. You can also help her by inviting her new little friends over for playdates. That will certainly help cement and strengthen new friendships.

Just don't let her see your anxiety! Listen to her, ask how she's feeling and of course don't gloss over any concerns or fears that she has. But don't let her sense your own fears or she might start to think starting at a new school really is something to worry about.

#25 winnifred

Posted 17 January 2013 - 10:16 PM

just one observation... i think that the REASON for disruptions to schooling can be an important factor in how a child processes what is happening to them.  If you had to change schools because mum or dad was made redundant/got sick/got divorced you may feel more helplessness, anger, sadness and anxiety around the change.

I moved a lot as a child with my dad's work and it was a great.  I have friends who moved schools at the same ages because of bankruptcy or divorce and their memories are much darker.






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