Long Island expert weighs in on how to help your...

Long Island expert weighs in on how to help your child adjust to a new school. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Q. Can you suggest ways to help a child adjust to starting school in a new district?

A. Each child and every age group will react differently to a move. These tips from Kathleen Ozimkowski, a psychologist for the Huntington School District, can help:

* Get your child involved in activities that mirror passions he had in his former neighborhood -- religious youth groups or sports teams. The move will be easier if he has a new place to embrace a familiar activity. Be aware of tryout deadlines so as not to miss them.

* Read the school website or handbook to see what academic programs and extracurricular activities the district offers that your child might like, and help arrange her schedule to include them. Meet with the guidance counselor or school psychologist, who can help your child adjust.

* For younger kids, ask the teacher for a class list with phone numbers. This way, you can help plan play dates that will lead to new friendships.

* Allow your child to stay connected to old friends using social media. Just be aware of this becoming a crutch. "If the past connection becomes her only world, then there's a problem," Ozimkowski says.

* Remember that learning to overcome challenges and adjust to change is a good skill for your child to master. It will help him with the inevitable difficulties and challenges he will face in life.

* Keep parent-child communication open. If needed, seek professional therapy.


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