Settling into School
It’s that time of year again! Don’t even try to get on Facebook or Instagram if you don’t want to see countless pictures of kids on their first day of school. Parents across the country are now waiting with anticipation in hopes that this new schedule will wear out their children enough to make for peaceful weeknights.
Now don’t let all these smiling faces fool you. Change is hard – even good change. This means that even parents with children who are eager to start school may experience some speed bumps at the start of the new school year. Do you have a child that is about to start school? Need help managing this transition? Keep reading to find out how!
Give them a heads up
Talk with your child about the transition they are about to make. Find out the classroom schedule ahead of time so you can tell your child about the different activities in which they will engage. Teach them about teacher expectations in a positive way (that means no threats or scare tactics – these are counter productive and likely to induce anxiety).
Have a routine when they get home from school
Plan out the rest of their night when they get home from school. Schedules are super helpful because they let kids know what to expect. You can be a little more lax with them when they get home from school but try to have some sort of structure to help move the night along. Here’s an example of a good after school schedule:
Share personal stories
Tell your child about your own experience with starting each school year. Validate any feelings they might discuss. The could be nervous/excited/scared/happy. All of these emotions (and more) are acceptable. Empathize with your child and match his/her emotions. Maybe tell them a story about how you were afraid to start school at first but then ended up having a great time. This will help them realize that it’s okay to own their emotions and that fear can be healthy.
Visit the school
This is especially helpful if your child has never been to school before or are starting a new school. Most schools will host a back to school night where you can meet the teachers and explore the new setting. This will help combat any fear of the unknown. Walk your child to their new classroom and allow them to ask any questions.
Find out about after school activities
This is a great way to help your child make new friends! After school activities promotes healthy social and emotional growth. This could be a sport or a club. After school activities help children develop healthy self-esteems and promotes physical activity. They are also known to boost academic performance and reduce risky behaviors!