Back To School Tips For Parents
Ensuring a new school year gets off to a good start can influence children’s attitude, confidence, and performance both socially and academically.
This transition from August to September can be difficult for both children and parents. Even those children who are eager to return to class must adjust to the greater levels of activity, structure, and for some, pressures associated with school life.
The level and degree of adjustment depends on the child, but parents can help their children manage the increased pace of life by planning ahead, being realistic in expectations, and maintaining a positive attitude. Here are just a few suggestions to help with the transition and promote a successful school experience.
Before School Starts
Plan to schedule doctor and dental checkups early. Discuss any concerns you have over your child’s emotional or psychological development with your pediatrician. Your child will benefit if a potential issue is identified and addressed before school starts.
Review the material sent by the school as soon as it arrives. These packets include important information about your child’s teachers, school supply requirements, after-school sports and activities, bus transportation, and health and emergency forms.
Make note of important dates, especially back-to-school nights. Keeping a calendar can help you efficiently juggle obligations, especially if you have children in more than one school.
Re-establish the bedtime and mealtime routines (especially breakfast) at least one week before school starts.
The First Week
Clear your own schedule. If possible, postpone business trips, volunteer meetings, and extra projects.
Make lunches the night before school, ensuring healthy choices are made. When setting alarm clocks, leave extra time. Make sure your child has plenty of time to get up, eat breakfast, and get to school.
Review your child’s schoolbooks and send a brief note to your child’s teacher. Let the teachers know that you are interested in getting regular feedback on how and what your child is doing in school.
Let your children know you care. If your child is anxious about school, send personal notes in their lunch box or book bag, this will help to reinforce the ability to cope.
Also, model optimism and confidence for your child. Do not overreact to situations and remain calm and positive.
Look for activities that will give quality, not quantity.
Your child will benefit most from one or two activities that are fun, reinforce social development, and teach new skills. Too much scheduled time can be stressful. Also, consider your family schedule and personal energy level.
When Problems Arise
Most children can display a variety of behaviors. It is generally wise not to over interpret those behaviors. If faced with an issue, more often than not time and a few intervention strategies will remedy the problem. Most children are resilient, and with your support and encouragement, can thrive throughout their school experience.
If a problem seems extreme or goes on for an extended period, you may want to set up an appointment to meet with your child’s teachers and school psychologist. They may be able to offer direct or indirect support that will help identify and reduce the presenting problem.