Published on: August 24, 2015
It’s that time of year again. Back to school! The start of a new school year can bring a lot of changes, and therefore a lot of anxiety. The best advice to parents is to be prepared. Here are some helpful tips to make sure parents and students are ready and excited for a wonderful new school year.
1. Be sure to start preparing early. Help your kids start getting used to their school year routine early. Establish bedtime and wakeup routines in advance, so that you are in a good grove by the first day of school. Don’t wait until the last minute to ask questions or buy school supplies. The more you can get done early, the less you will have to worry about when the first day of school arrives.
2. Get your child involved! Talk to your child about the upcoming school year. As hectic as a new school year can be for adults, it can be even more stressful for kids. A new teacher? New friends? New routine?
Help them prepare by sharing any important information you collect, with them. Let them know about things they will see and do at school. Share any information about their teacher or classroom. If possible, take them to visit ahead of time. It may also be helpful for some students to have visuals or a social story to help them prepare. Collect pictures of their school and staff to pair with simple information about the items such as, the name of the school, their teacher, and general activities they will participate in. You can reference these items in the days leading up to the start of school, so your child has an idea of what to expect. The more you and your child know ahead of time, the less there is to worry about!
Shopping for school supplies is also a great way to involve your student. A lot of kids will enjoy getting to pick out their new backpack or lunchbox. It could also be a great learning experience for a lot of students. Talk about what different school supplies are for. Have them help you pay at the register. Involving your student may take a little more time and preparation, but it is a great way to help them get ready and excited for a new school year.
3. Use your resources! Contact your child’s teacher and school. Introduce yourself. Ask any questions you might have and see if they have any suggestions to help your child specifically prepare for their class. What is the drop off/pick up routine? What forms do I need filled out? What opportunities are there to get involved or meet other parents? What can I do to prepare my child? (Remember that social story we mentioned) Most of this information should be provided to you, but don’t hesitate to follow up or request more information. Everyone wants to make sure your child is successful from the start. Your teacher will appreciate your involvement and initiative. You will appreciate having this information ahead of time.
4. Finally, and maybe most importantly, have some fun! It all goes by so fast! Enjoy the end of the summer with your kids and have some fun. Once the school year gets going, be sure to be on the lookout for ways to stay involved with your child’s school. Field trips, parent visits, and musicals are all fun ways to participate in your child’s school and to see all of the great things they are doing.
Everyone is excited for this new school year and all of the exciting growth and changes it will bring. We hope you are too!
By Holly Bitner, M. Ed.