Mommy A to Z

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What I Learned From My Daughter’s Move to a New School


Back to school

There were tears the day we announced we’d bought a home.

I don’t mean the tears I cried at the closing when I held the keys to my first house. Or the manly glisten in my husband’s eye as it sank in that he was finally a homeowner. I mean the frustrated, angry, helpless tears of a seven-year-old who was being told she was leaving all her friends (not to mention the four-foot Lothario who’d captured her heart) to start over in a new town.

What seemed like a joyful milestone for us was interpreted by our daughter as Mommy and Daddy conspiring to ruin her life.

I don’t know if it was out of guilt or protectiveness, but at that moment I embarked on a campaign to ease her anxiety and make her transition as seamless as possible. And now that she’s eased into the school year, I’m relieved to say so far, so good. Here are a few lessons I learned as I held her tightly through the frightening process.

We’re All “The New Kid”

Over the summer, my daughter saw a girl at the pool she recognized from her new town camp. “Go say hi,” I urged her, but she shyly backed away. Flash forward to the second day of school. While picking up my daughter, I spotted a mom I had recently chatted with at the pool. “Go say hi,” my daughter suggested, her eyes growing wide as I awkwardly made excuses. In the end I did what my daughter so often does — I grabbed her hand and dragged her along with me. (After all, everyone’s friendly when the kids are around!) We’re all new in this town, and it’s not always easy.

Sooner Is Better

The last week of June was pure torture. My head was spinning as I alternated between packing up our old apartment and managing a stampede of contractors marching through our new home like ants with power tools. We hadn’t moved in yet, but I was determined that my daughter would attend summer camp in our new town. I desperately wanted her to see a few familiar faces when school started, even if that meant driving her back and forth between towns each day, until we moved into our new home. But every stressful moment was worth it when, on the first day of school, my daughter said with a big smile, “Guess what, Mommy? There were five girls from camp in my class!”

Out of Sight…

When we moved away, I promised my daughter I’d try to arrange play dates with her old friends. Unfortunately, it was summer, and with people away on vacation, it was too hard to coordinate. I’m still determined to make plans with her closest friends, but I can see already that a lot of her more casual friendships (including that with Romeo) are probably going to fall by the wayside. The reality is that our lives are here now, and her calendar is already getting filled with school events. It’s hard at her age to build a life in two places.

A New Journey Together

I didn’t want my daughter to go through this transition alone… and she’s not. I’ve volunteered to be her Class Parent. While I already can tell it’s going to be work, my daughter was infinitely relieved to know I’ll be around, and that I’ll be learning about her new school with her. I’m sure by Valentine’s Day I’ll be school-partied out, but it means the world to my daughter to know we’re in this together, and that one of the familiar faces she’ll be seeing around her classroom will be mine.

I know change is a part of life, and ultimately learning to adjust to new developments and meet new people will be good for my daughter. But as a mom, it’s hard to see fear and anxiety welling up in my child’s eyes. I’m glad I can be there for her… until she realizes mom is uncool and tries to ditch me at the crosswalk.

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  1. My eyes welled up, too. Really moving, as well as funny as usual. Congrats on the new home, and best of luck there!

  2. Lovely post. Brings back memories of how scared I was when I graduated from elementary school to junior high to high school to college. Luckily, I did not have to deal with moving to a new home and changing friends, too. Glad to know your daughter is doing well. You are a very supportive and awesome mom!

  3. We moved this summer too, and I broke our bank account to make sure all the boys could go to school together. But I’m thankful. Oh, and I’m shyer than my kids, so I am with you on being new kid. Congratulations on your home!!!

    • Thank you, and congrats on your move! It’s great that the kids are all in school together. Sounds like you made a great choice! Thanks for reading :)

  4. Awwww *hugs* :( You’re doing a great job on helping your daughter to adjust. As they say it’s all a matter of time. she’ll get through it and with by her side it she’ll be at ease. Enjoy your new home!

    • Thank you so much! She’s making friends and seems to really like her new school, so I’m hopeful! Thanks for reading and for the kind words!

  5. I found your blog and I completely relate to the transitions our children face. This is why I’m creating a site for parents who have the same challenges. If you like, check out my site, and also look for me on Instagram @TRUUPN

  6. You are an AWESOME mom!!! I love your blog

  7. its so sweet that you will be there for her, changing schools is so hard. I went to many different schools myself and hope that I won’t have to put my girls through that. I’m glad she will have you in her class for support though.

    • Thanks! So far she is doing well, and the kids seem pretty friendly. Now I’m working on Mommy making some friends too :) Thanks for stopping by and for the supportive comment!

  8. I would savor every moment that she allows you to spend with her at that age. My daughter has always been ahead of her peers on the learning and growth curves. She will be starting school next fall and she already says how much she can’t wait to get out of the house and play with friends. It is exciting to know that she’s not as anxiety ridden as I am; but, I wish she would stay my little girl for a little longer. When we reach the play place now she instantly tells me that I need to go find adult friends so she can play with her little kid friends. It makes me smile though I know I am too introverted to ever listen to her! Hope her transition remained smooth and that you made new adult friends too!

    • Wow, what a big little girl! She sounds like she has no trouble making friends, which is such a great quality! Thanks for stopping by, and for the words of encouragement :)

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