Many of us have spent the last few weeks getting our kids ready to go back to school. We’ve purchased all the school supplies, bought new clothes and tried to re-connect with friends they haven’t seen all summer. However, nerves are on edge. Will they like their teacher? Will they know anyone in their class? After a summer of sleeping in, how will we ever get up and out on time? In order to help the transition as much as possible, these are some steps that can help the process:
1. Speak freely with your child. It’s normal to feel anxious about something new, especially if you’ve moved your child to a new school. Encourage them to talk about their fears and listen closely so they know you really care. Reassure them that what they are experiencing is to be expected, and that you understand their concerns.
2. Focus on the positive. Remind them about the fun field trips, art classes or music lessons they will have in addition to their academic studies. Talk about the friends they will see. Look up the curriculum and give them some insight into the interesting things they will be learning in the new school year.
3. Be organized! Pick out the next days sets of clothes and have them ready to go. Have your child put all the school supplies he needs in his backpack or in a bag to bring along separately. Talk about what he would like to eat for a nutritious breakfast so you aren’t arguing about it in the morning. Have him help you prepare his lunch the night before so he knows what to expect and is looking forward to it. Do everything you can to prepare ahead so you’re not stressed and behind schedule in the morning.
4. Leave the house 10 – 15 minutes earlier than usual so you aren’t delayed by the crazy traffic around your school the first couple of weeks.
5. Discuss an after-school back-up plan. If you work or even if you are just running errands, there are times when you are bound to be late. If your child is too young to have a cellphone, be sure to talk to her about what to do if you aren’t there right when she gets out of class. Should she stay with the teacher? Go to the office? Walk through the scenario so she isn’t anxious about it.
6. Create a comfortable and quiet workspace that your child will do his or her homework in each night.
7. At the dinner table, ask your children what good questions they asked today. Or, what 3 things they learned. Avoid “how was your day?” This generic question will get a generic response and you’ll be left without any detailed information to discuss.
8. Remember to encourage and praise your kids! Positive reinforcement can go a long way, especially during the first couple of weeks when they are feeling so uncertain.
Online parenting classes designed by Dr. Ari Novick, Ph.D., are a great way for caregivers to learn new skills in how to handle children of all ages. Once the kids have successfully gotten through the first couple of days or weeks of school, take time for self-improvement. Look into our high quality online program today!