How to Help Your Child Adjust to a New Teacher

A new school years means new teachers for your preschooler. Support her in this adjustment with these suggestions.

Inevitably, every child must reach a point at which she must venture from home and enter the realm of the next guiding adult: her teacher.

Most teachers have a bag of tricks for engaging even the most reluctant of students, but if you’d like a little more guidance, you may find these tips helpful.

1. Meet the teacher early.

New adults can be intimidating, but a few casual conversations where student and teacher share their favorite ice cream flavor and animal can make the teacher seem more accessible.

2. Learn rules beforehand.

Every teacher is a little different, and some children need more help adjusting to new routines, responsibilities, or expectations than others. Tell your child that this is just a part of growing up, and that being a big kid is tough sometimes, but great in lots of ways too. List those ways together.

3. Listen to your child.

What we consider little problems can be earth-shattering for children. Talk about school in the evenings and listen to concerns, discoveries, and achievements. You may have to help your child articulate what exactly is bothering him. Sometimes it’s not the teacher at all, he just misses his old classroom. Children may respond to small changes like smells or sounds, and sometimes it’s a matter of getting used to a new environment.

4. Support the teacher, and she will support you too.

Your child watches you to know how to react in many circumstances, and that goes for school too. If you are quick to blame, he may never fully adjust to his new teacher, but if you approve, your child will soon jump on board too. Remember that the teacher is another key adult in your child’s life for the year, and it’s important to be on the same team.

5. Embrace a little uncertainty.

Give it time, and don’t push it. Relationships and attachments don’t develop overnight, and demonstrating your anxiety about it will teach your child to be anxious, too. Your child doesn’t have to love her teacher, but she should absolutely feel safe and welcome in the learning community. If you don’t feel this is the case, bring it up to the teacher and/or principal and collaborate on solutions.

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