How to Know If Your Child Is Adjusting Well in Their New School in Singapore

Continuing their early education in Singapore can be challenging for most expat children. Not only do they have to keep up with the stringent academic requirements typical of most international schools, but they also have to leave behind their old friends, make new ones, and navigate the delicate stages of childhood in an unfamiliar environment. 

How to Know If Your Child Is Adjusting Well in Their New School in Singapore
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When guided properly, most children will get into a healthy rhythm in just a few short weeks. However, this is by no means universal, and some expat children will find themselves struggling to keep up even after several months. 

Better-adjusted children will tend to have fewer social and academic issues, thus increasing the chances of them developing into mentally healthy and well-rounded individuals. This makes it important for expat parents to know whether or not their child is adapting to their new environment.

If all or most of these apply to your own child, chances are that they’re adjusting well to life at their new school:

They Don’t Dwell on Setbacks

Well-adjusted children are typically able to manage negative experiences in a healthy way. Kids with school-related anxiety will often dwell on negative memories and setbacks, even during the weekends. 

Does your child constantly talk about negative experiences in school? It may be time to start helping them address the potential root causes of their distress. If they’re experiencing severe isolation or culture shock, you could consider transferring them to a vetted American school in Singapore so that they can be among like-minded peers.

They’re Eating Well and Not Binging on Sugary or Carb-Rich Foods

Children who aren’t adjusting well to their new school may exhibit symptoms of depression and anxiety. These symptoms are not always easy to spot, especially if the whole family is still just settling into a new living situation. However, one telltale giveaway that your child might not be adjusting well to their new school is an increased craving for foods rich in sugar or carbohydrates. 

A 2018 study from Japan about cravings for high-carb and high-fat foods found that human brains that are subjected to stress release a hormone that switches their preference for fatty foods to a preference for carbohydrates. While it’s normal for most kids to have a sweet tooth, paying closer attention to what your child is eating may give you insights into how well they’re doing.

They Have No Serious Conflicts with Their Siblings

Children who have a difficult time at school are likely to take their frustrations out on their siblings. If your children’s relationships remain more or less the same, then it may be an indication that they’re doing fairly well in their new environment.

They’ve Started to Sleep Well After the First Few Weeks

It’s normal to have problems sleeping when transitioning to a new environment. Children and adults alike may experience difficulty sleeping the first few weeks after moving to a new school or workplace. However, these issues usually resolve themselves after a few weeks. 

If your child continues to have problems sleeping after a month or so, it may be a sign that they’re not adjusting well to their new school. It’s important to address sleep issues and their root causes right away, as they could impact your child’s academic performance and social life and compound any stress and anxiety they may be feeling. 

They Don’t Have a Sudden Resentment for Their Chores

Fairly well-adjusted children are typically able to take on basic chores at home without much issue. On the other hand, children who are experiencing school-related distress can find it difficult to multitask or think of anything other than their problems, leading them to lash out if you have them do their chores. Again, if this is the case, strive to find the root of the problem so that you can help your child lead a healthy school and home life. 

They Can Name Several Peers Whom They Like

Kids who are well-adjusted in their new school are likely to make several friends. Children who can name between 5 and 10 peers whom they like are probably part of a group and are getting on in their social lives. On the other hand, difficulty naming even 5 peers whom they like can be a serious red flag that could indicate isolation, bullying, or other related issues.

They Maintain Their Interest in Their Favorite Things

Well-adjusted children are usually interested in picking up their old hobbies after a few weeks in school. A loss of interest in things that they used to enjoy is one of the red flags that could indicate depression and one that may be related to their new surroundings. If they have lost interest in three or four hobbies or interests they enjoyed, consider contacting a qualified child therapist.

They’re Not Experiencing Nausea or Diarrhea

School-related anxiety can lead to physical symptoms, including stomach upset. If your child regularly dry heaves, feels nauseated, or has diarrhea before or after class, their experiences in their new school may be triggering it. If you can rule out food poisoning or other potential causes of stomach upset, make sure to keep an eye out for any other potential signs of stress or anxiety in your child.

Your Child Still Has a Flexible Routine

Expat children who were primarily educated through the American public school system or the school system of their country of origin will often experience a significant culture shock when they transfer to an Asian school. This culture shock may lead to anxiety and feelings of helplessness. These feelings, in turn, may cause them to develop overly strict routines as a way of maintaining a sense of control. 

Generally speaking, Asian schools do emphasize routine more than most American or European schools. However, if your child is adjusting well, their routine after class hours should be fairly flexible. If they are imposing strict routines on themselves at home, it may be a sign that they’re having trouble readjusting.

They Look Forward to School

Genuine enthusiasm is, perhaps, the surest sign that your child is adjusting well to their new school. If you know your child well, you will probably have a good idea if they’re genuinely enthusiastic or are putting on a show for your benefit. To be sure, check in with your child periodically over the rest of the school year to see if they maintain their eagerness to go to school.

To ensure that your child remains mentally healthy, it’s important to know how well they’re adjusting to their new school. Proactively learning about how well your child is doing will let you take better charge of their overall development and help them get the most out of their education. It should also allow you to take immediate action to safeguard their mental health, should it become necessary. 

By taking a keener interest in your child’s progress, you can make certain that they grow up to become well-rounded, academically proficient, and emotionally healthy individuals. What’s more, you’ll set the stage for countless happy memories of your shared time abroad.

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