Going back to school, or starting school for the first time is an all at once exciting and nerve wracking experience for children and parents. Starting the upcoming school year off on the right path will influence your children’s confidence, attitude and performance both academically and socially. The transition from break to back to school can be hard for both children and their parents. Even kids who are excited to go back to school must adjust to the new levels of structure, activity and pressures often associated with school life.
While the range of adjustment depends on the individual child, as parents, we can help our children handle the intensified pace of life by being realistic, maintaining a positive attitude, and planning ahead. Here are a few recommendations to improve your child’s transition back to school and to encourage a successful emotional and physical school experience.
Before School Starts
Good mental and physical health. Be sure your child is in good mental and physical health. Schedule routine back to school dental and doctor examinations early. This allows you ample time to address any concerns you may have pertaining to your child. Your physician can help you understand if your concerns are typical, age-appropriate concerns or if they require further assessment. It’s important to address any concerns you may have as early as possible. This will allow you to seek out any academic services designed to help your child before the concern places them behind academically. When it comes to learning, early detection of potential learning disabilities or any other difficulty allows your child to remain on track with their academic program.
Re-establish mealtime and bedtime routines. School break is the time to vacation, unwind and settle into relaxed schedules. At least one week before school starts, plan to re-establish “school time” mealtime and bedtime routines. This is particularly important for breakfast. Fueling your child for the day begins with the first meal of the day. Be sure breakfast is packed with healthy nutrients, vitamins and minerals to get them through their day. Here are some helpful tips on foods to feed your children to encourage healthy brain development.
Turn off the electronic devices. During school breaks, we tend to let our children watch more television and engage in more screen time than during the school year. A few weeks before school starts, encourage your children to play games, complete puzzles, build with blocks, use flash cards, colour, or read and write as morning activities instead of turning to their electronic devices. This will help your child ease back into their school routine and learning processes. If possible, continue this application throughout the school year, as it encourages a pattern of learning and development.
Visit your child’s school. If your child is attending a new school or young, be sure to visit your child’s school with them. Meeting their teacher, locating the lunchroom, their locker and classroom will significantly ease pre-school. This also allows your child to ask questions about their new environment. Most schools have orientation days for students, or you can the school to make sure the administration and teachers will be available to introduce themselves to your child.
Let your children know you care. If your child is apprehensive or concerned about school, consider sending personal notes in their lunch box or school bag. Emulate the ability to cope. Children often reflect their parent’s anxiety, so model positivity and confidence for your child. Let them know it’s natural to be a little nervous anytime they start something new but that they will be just fine once they become familiar with their teacher, classmates, and school routine.
Do not overreact. Not every child transitions back to school the same way. If the first few days are a little rough, try not to overreact. It’s very common for young children to experience shyness or separation anxiety the first few days/weeks of school. However, their teachers are prepared to help them adjust. If you drive them to school, try not to linger. Simply, reassure your child that you love them. Tell them you will think of them during the day and will be back later. Let them know that you are excited for them to have fun learning and making new friends in school.
Remain positive and calm. Focus on the good experiences from the previous school year and upcoming year. If your child had a negative experience in the past, reassure them that the problem will not occur again. Be sure to tell your child’s school and teachers if they are struggling with any concerns about the upcoming year.
Back to school is a fun and exciting time. If you keep the above tips in mind, you’ll be on the path to ensuring your child has a healthy and smooth transition back into their school time routines.
Do you have any tips for preparing back to school? We’d love to hear from you!