All children need to switch schools as they transition from elementary school to middle school, high school, and eventually university. Those school changes are normal, but other switches can cause problems.
Notably, if you need to move your family, your children will need to switch schools. Switching schools at any age can have consequences, but what is the worst age to change schools?
Switching schools can have a significant effect on the mental well-being of children. Even if they are only moving to another school in the same city, it can be challenging. So, it is crucial to understand what your child will go through before you make your move.
What Is the Worst Age To Change Schools?
Every child is different, and as a result, it is challenging to precisely determine the worst age to change schools. Typically, children are best off staying in the same school throughout their adolescence. Children are better off having as few school changes as possible.
However, some times are better for children to change schools and others are worse. Typically, the older your child is, the worse they will be affected by the move.
For example, if you move when your child is in second grade, they are unlikely to be significantly affected. Conversely, moving when your child is in grade 10 could have a significantly negative effect on their academic performance and mental well-being.
Most experts believe the worst time to change schools is when your child is in middle school. Usually, middle school spans from age 11 to 13 in most areas.
At these ages, children are going through significant changes in their lives. Puberty affects how they look and think, so they need stability to help them manage the changes in their lives. Taking them away from their friends and switching schools is unlikely to have a positive effect.
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Changing Schools Can Negatively Affect Your Child
Changing schools has the chance to negatively affect your child. While not every child will react in the same way, changing schools is usually not great for a kid’s development and academic performance.
There are several reasons switching schools can cause problems for children. The most significant factor is kids’ cravings for stability.
Most children want stability subconsciously, and their school is the biggest constant in their lives. Switching schools sends a ripple through their life that cannot be parallel.
Even Normal Transitions Can Cause a Dip in Academic Performance
There is a lot to manage when you have a child. You need to ensure they perform in school, eat right, stay healthy, and remain happy.
Most importantly, you must do what you can to ensure they have a good future. It is challenging to have a promising future without a good education. As a result, it is concerning that switching schools can cause a dip in performance.
Moving to a different city and switching schools can negatively impact school performance, but the change does not need to be that drastic to have a negative effect. Even normal transitions can do academic damage.
Notably, studies have shown that children that attend the same school through grade 8 are better off than kids that go to elementary and middle school. School districts with traditional elementary, middle, and high school systems have lower graduation rates than those with K-8 and high school systems.
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Cons of Switching Schools
Switching schools has the potential to be very harmful to the development of your children. As a result, you need to consider the risks before you move.
There are several things your child needs to deal with when they move. Firstly, they are likely to lose contact with their friends. They might keep up with them for a little on social media, but they will have more trouble maintaining long-distance friendships than adults.
Losing their friend group means your kids will need to make new friends. Moving them during middle school is challenging because it is after kids form bonds that can take them through their childhood.
Additionally, it is when they are at their meanest, so it is more challenging to make friends.
Children who move are more likely to feel lonely in their new environment. Not only do they lose their friends, but they lose their adult support group.
Children rely on more than their parents for support. They build relationships with teachers, coaches, and their friend’s parents. Losing their adult support group means they are less likely to ask for help when they need it, especially with things they might be uncomfortable speaking to their parents about.
Finally, academic performance is known to decrease when children move. Schools have different curriculums from state to state, so your kids might not have learned everything they need for their new classes.
Pros of Switching Schools
Children need to overcome several obstacles when they change schools. While it can have a negative impact, there are some positives if they are resilient.
Children can build new social bonds at new schools. While having different friends is not a big deal, learning how to bond with new people is a skill that is very important as an adult.
Furthermore, the school change could happen because the new school focuses on specific interests of theirs. You might move your child to an art school if it interests them. Doing so could help prepare your children for a future career.
When Is the Best Age for Children to Change Schools?
Switching schools is challenging for most children, so it is crucial to think about them before you choose to move. We understand that not all moves are up to you.
Sometimes you need to move for your job or a new opportunity, but not all moves are necessary. Many parents decide to move on a whim without considering their children.
Once you have children, you are responsible for their well-being, so it would not make sense not to consider them before making a huge decision. If you plan on moving when you have kids, the best time is when they are still young.
If they have not started school, there is no risk. However, it is still reasonable to move when your child is in elementary school. Once they enter middle school, it becomes more likely they will experience negative side effects.
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What Time of Year Is the Best Time for Children to Switch Schools?
If you are considering moving and switching your children’s schools, you should plan the best time to move. Moving in the middle of the school year is a bad idea. You will increase the likelihood of traumatizing your child as they will have no time to process the move.
Instead, you should plan your move for summer break. By moving in the summer, your children can become comfortable with their new environment before they start school.
You can enroll them in summer sports or other activities, so they can make a few friends before school starts. Additionally, moving between school years gives your kids time to properly say goodbye to their friends.
Changing schools is never easy for children. However, some times are easier than others. The younger your child is, the easier a time they will have in their transition to a new school. We also recommend moving during the summer so that they have time to adjust and say goodbye to their friends.