Can you believe another school year is getting ready to begin in a few short weeks? It seems as though they just got out for Summer vacation! I am especially cognizant of prepping for back to school this year since my little guy is starting Kindergarten!! I have been slowly preparing and planning for all of the back to school things – clothes, shoes, supplies, backpack, lunchbox, schedule and routine, etc. I am very likely over thinking it, but I am hopeful that with my planning and preparation, we will have an easy transition to school.
Getting off to a good start at the beginning of the school year can be difficult. We should give our child(ren) a boost and provide motivation to do the best he or she can during the school year. However, even with “experience,” each new school year is an adjustment for all family members. Changes may include things like bedtimes, friendships, activity levels, expectations (academic, social, and athletic), activities (TV, homework, school meetings, and outside functions), and diet (hurried, unhealthy meals).
Many children (like my son) will attend school for the first time and the whole experience is new. For other children, there may be new interests, new doubts, and new developmental changes. Changes at school can include new classrooms, teachers, and subjects. All of these and more mean that the child must redesign at least a few aspects of his or her life. This may come easier for some children than for others.
A child may adjust well one year, and struggle the next with noticeable changes in attitude, mood and social skills. Patience, understanding, and encouragement are attributes parents and family members should possess. In general, most children will adjust in a few weeks.
There are a variety of ways parents can make transitions easier for their children. Perhaps these can help you and your family adjust to the new school year.
- Encourage the love of learning. Tell your child about teachers who inspired you and the interesting things you did in school. Do not support negative stereo-types of teachers or of school.
- Treat school as a normal part of your family’s activities, which is easy to do in Borden County! Answer questions, discuss issues, but don’t force enthusiasm or unwanted conversation.
- Visit the school and bus stop with your child. For new students, you might consider walking to school or driving the bus route to help familiarize your child with how they will get to and from school. Meeting your child’s teacher(s) is also very important. This shows that you are interested in their education and the teacher is very appreciative of your interest as well.
- Adjust bedtime and wake-up schedules. Bedtimes vary and are less consistent during the summer. Getting your child in a routine will make it easier for them to get adequate rest and be ready for the next day of school. Having them set out the clothes they plan to wear the next day is helpful. Also, be sure to keep everything (papers, homework, etc.) near the door in a satchel/backpack for easy pick-up on the way out the door.
- Allow your child to be involved in making these new schedules, homework times, play and television limits, school lunches, and various rules. They are more apt to comply if they have a part in setting them. Also, discuss consequences of not following the new rules and schedules (i.e. being tired, not getting lessons finished, being grounded, etc.).
- Help your child identify people that they can call or look to if they have an emergency at school (they miss the bus, get sick, forget something at home, etc.) if they cannot reach you. This will help ease their mind and keep them from becoming panicked if an emergency does arise. It is also a good idea to leave a list in the school office, and with your child’s teacher, of people to contact should you not be reachable.
- Try to get involved in your child’s education and activities. Studies show that kids are more motivated to learn when they see their parents involved at school. Plan to be available to your child, especially the first few weeks of school. Keep the early weeks as free of outside activities so that you can pamper your child with home-cooked meals and special reading time with you.
This is a special time of year for your family. Let your children know that education is important and that you are there for them. Supportive parents will help make a successful student. Children are the future of our world! Best wishes to you and your family in the 2014-2015 school year!
Here is a link to some terrific articles to help us prepare for Back to School! 55 Best Back to School Articles for Parents