11 answers

Transitioning to Kindergarten

My son is going to kindergarten in the fall. We are looking to move at some point but feel so guilty about him starting kindergarten in one school then starting 1st grade in another school. My son is on the shy side but once he warms up he is fine but it takes him a while. I just feel bad doing a big transition 2 times in the next 2 years. We are thinking of moving in the next couple months so he doesn't have to transition 2 times. What are your thoughts on this. Do you think it would be a better idea to move before he starts kindergarten? I am so torn! Financially I would like to stay put for one more year.

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Thanks for all your advice! We are going to try and move but not sure if we will be able to sell our house and buy one all before September.

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As a military kid (and only child), I had to move all the time! It was rare if I was in the same school for two grades in a row. I understand that with you it's a choice to make this change (whereas the US Gov't was in charge of mine!), but kids are resilient. As long as the key things about home are the same (mommy and daddy, etc.) - and meaning that he has his same stuff, same sheets, same teddy, etc., I think that will help him have the important parts of stability he'll need.

I hope this helps!

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Hello P.. As an older Mom whose children are grown, I learned that my children reacted to change in their routine depending on how we the parents presented the change. So, as usual in the case of parenting, the ball is literally in your court. I say if waiting to move is best for you and your husband and you need to start your son out in one kindergarten and move later to start out somewhere new it doesn't HAVE to be unsettling for your boy. You can choose to present 'change' to him from the beginning in a positive way. Think about it. Siding on honesty (in age appropriate
increments, ofcourse) with our girls never seemed to fail us. You could say something like 'first you're going to be going to ______ school, and when Dad and I find our next home, you'll be going to ________ school.' It doesn't have to be a too 'over the top' explanation...just enough so he has an idea of what to EXPECT. Change can be renewing, uplifting and exciting IF you present it as such. ;) If you present as 'guilty, fearful and 'bad''...hmmm...chances are your son picks up on it. I urge you not to allow 'guilt and worry' into your life...such a waste of precious time. ;)(ever read Eckhart Tolle?) Children are resilient... especially when we don't hold them back! Best regards P., and good luck with your family move!!! Be Peace, N.

My son is in kindergarten this year, we are not moving but he will be going to a new school since our town has 2 schools that are only Pre-K & K and then the other schools are K & up. He is in one of the Pre-K & K schools. He may be in class with some of the same kids but it is not a guarantee. I also think it is really not so bad being the new kid in 1st grade. My best friend and I met in 1st grade. I had friends from kindergarten and have lost touch with them even though we were at the same school thru high school. The one friend I can not imagine loosing touch with is my friend from 1st grade. she was new to our school in 1st grade and we became quick friends even though I already had a group of friends - kids this age are usually very accepting. I have been out of school for 20 years and we are still very close. Hope this helps.

P., We are in the middle of doing that dreaded move. Our oldest is in K. He will finish in the same school, I will have to drive him instead of him taking the bus (which he loves). I have explained to him that next year will mean a different school, that we will go and see it together first. He is on the shy side as well. His transition from PreK to K went much smoother than expected, and I have faith the same will go for next yr. I have asked many of our friends who are teachers and they say it is best to move before first grade, before that it isn't as hard for them.
Hope this helps!! Good Luck to you and family!

Amen to Nancy's response!!! As a daughter of parents like Nancy, I can say that I am a well adjusted adult who even married a sailor so I GET to move around every few years. Even though I've had to find creative ways (as an adult) to find friends, I know I CAN find friends because I've done it all my life. I have a certain confidence in moving, knowing that things work out, because my parents conveyed that when we moved when I was a kid.

Moving is NOT BAD!!! :) If YOU believe that (or at least put up a VERY believable front), your kids will adapt easily and happily. Try presenting it as an adventure! :)

Good luck!!

You have to go by the child. For my first daughter, it would not have mattered at all. For my second daughter - also painfully shy - it would have been devastating. I'm guessing that since you are asking this question - you already know what is right for your child. At this age, they do make friends in kindergarten, they all know each other, and anyone starting in first grade is definitely at a disadvantage because all the little buddy groups are definitely formed. Good luck!

Hi P., You've already received a lot of good answers! I went thru the same thing with my older son. He began K in NH and in Nov., we moved to CT. and he was the "new kid" in class. It was a novelty for a few weeks, which was nice for him, he received a lot of attention, and he adjusted well. Especially, given he didn't know anyone, and his world really had changed drastically. That said, if you decided to get it a year and then move, try your best to get situated early in the summer, then you'll have a chance to meet new kids BEFORE the first day of school. Also, remember, there's always a bunch of new kids in any given grade in schools, your child won't be the only one! Best of luck!

Your son will be fine. In my kids school there are two classrooms for each grade. The kids that my son had in his kindergarten class were mostly not even in his 1st grade class (just worked out that way) He had a whole new group of friends within a week of being in 1st grade (and he is shy). As parents, we worry so much more than our kids do. Don't put yourself in a tough position financially all for a reason that will probably be irrelevant. It may even be a good idea to try to time it so that you move a month or so before his kindergarten school year ends. That way when you move he will come into the class as the "new kid". At that age it is a privelage to be the new kid. The teacher will make a big deal out of it and usually they will pair them up with a child to be their "buddy" and he will get to participate in all of the end of the school year activities. The big plus to this is that he will start out 1st grade already knowing all of the kids. If he starts off the school year as the new kid he will not get as much special treatment and will more than likely get lost in the shuffle of the new school year. Just a thought. Good luck!

Hi P.,
So we too were in a similar situation. Last Oct. we moved and our 6 year old had already been into K for a couple months and where we were living it was full day. Where we moved to, it was half day w/ the option to do full day if you paid $2500 and were put into a lottery...needless to say we went with the half day. I can say that our daughter transitioned so well. The half day has actually worked out much better than the full and yes, she did say how she missed her "old" friends, but kids at this age make friends on a daily basis so after the first week or two of saying she missed them, she doesn't even mention her "old" school anymore. If it's brought up, of course she'll remember it, but she fits in so well with her new class that it's not the topic of conversation anymore. Do I wish that we had moved before she entered K, yes, of course, but for my own reasons, not because she didn't do well. It just would have been nice to have started and stayed in one place. However you are thinking about having him do K for a full year and then move, I could almost guarantee that he wouldn't be too upset. Yes, of course he'll make friends and some good ones at that during K, but kids lives are ever changing and if it's not him moving, it could be his "bestest" friend who is moving and he'd have to make a new one (if you get what I'm saying and where I'm going) :) I wish you the best of luck, kids are really resillient, it's amazing how well they bounce back. Now don't get me wrong, there are also kids that don't bounce back so well and are very attached, it depends on your child and what you think is and will be best for him...


As a military kid (and only child), I had to move all the time! It was rare if I was in the same school for two grades in a row. I understand that with you it's a choice to make this change (whereas the US Gov't was in charge of mine!), but kids are resilient. As long as the key things about home are the same (mommy and daddy, etc.) - and meaning that he has his same stuff, same sheets, same teddy, etc., I think that will help him have the important parts of stability he'll need.

I hope this helps!

I know this goes against the grain, how ever given the fact that your son is entering kindergarten you can opt to not start school. Kindergarten is not mandatory in Massachusetts. You could home educate until you are settled in your new town.

I have to agree with both Helen and Nancy. How you present it is HUGE! Also, I was a navy brat, my children (all grown) were all navy brats. I've never lived anywhere longer than two years, therefore, neither have my children. I assure you -- moving is not the end of the world. Sure there are advantages to not moving, just as there are to new places and experiences. My children were always excited about going to a new school. That's not to say there weren't ever transitional issues. But I don't recall any huge traumas. In fact, I recall the frustration of dealing with each school district's different requirements and documentation of said requirements being much more traumatic for me, than anything my children experienced. I think this is more true the younger they are. High school would be one thing, but kindergarten??? Piece of cake!

If you're calm and cheerful about it, your child will be too. I would not go to extreme measures to avoid changing schools -- especially at that age.

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