Summer is coming to a close. Play dates, family vacations and trips to grandma’s house may have made for a great time. With over a week left until school starts, the thought of going back to school may elicit relief from parents and groans from kids. Whether it is your child’s first entry into Kindergarten or Middle school, it is important to help set him or her up for a positive school year experience.
Buying school supplies, doctor’s appointments, haircuts and last minute trips to the beach may be keeping you busy, but there are some other things that parents can do for themselves and their kids to ensure a smooth transition into the school year. Here are 5 Steps for Back to School Success:
5 Steps for Back to School Success
- Establish a Good Morning Routine. Have you been letting your kids sleep in, watch TV or play video games all summer? When the wake up time during the school year may be 6 or 7 o’ clock, it is important to help them wake up ready and willing to go to school. A week before school starts begin waking them up early so they can get used to it. Limit technology in the morning so you won’t have to peel them off the iPad. Instead, have them pick something to play with like Legos or read before breakfast.
- Prepare the Night Before. Running around looking for shoes or trying to get lunches packed does not make for a stress free morning. Try to get as much preparation done as you can the night before. Enlist your kids in getting their clothes picked out and backpacks by the door or in the car. This will make for less anxiety for both kids and parents when it’s time to get on the bus or into the car.
- Get Oriented to Your School. Even if your child has been going to his or her school for a few years, it is important to attend open house, parent meetings or any meet the teacher dates that may be available. Familiarity breeds comfort. This will help to calm you child’s back to school fears as she gets to meet her new teacher or potential classmates. If you think your child might have some additional anxiety, make an appointment or call the guidance counselor to have him or her partner up with a buddy the first day of school.
- Talk to Your Child About Bullying. Research shows that one in three kids will experience bullying sometime in their school life. Familiarize yourself with your child’s school bullying policy. Talk to your child about the correct way to treat their peers and when they should speak up for themselves or their friends. Practice having them be assertive in speaking up for themselves and be sure that they know who they can talk to if they are ever bullied.
- Give Your Child’s Teacher a “Get to Know Me” Page. The first day of school can be stressful for teachers too. Giving your teacher information about your child can be helpful in letting your teacher know where to place him or her in the classroom or if he can tolerate sitting next to someone more distracting or not. This simply consists of your child’s likes, dislikes, strengths, and growth areas. Also, if you know what works well for you as a parent, such as having your child look you in the eye and repeat directions back to you, it would be important to impart this knowledge to his teacher.
We all want our kids to do well this school year. Hugs and best wishes are great but good preparation can help reduce or avoid future problems like anxiety, referrals or suspensions for your child.
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Author: Lyris Steuber, MA, LMFT is a Lake Mary Child Play Therapist & Teen Counselor with Total Life Counseling Center. Total Life Counseling Center specializes in helping children, families, teens and parents and our experts can be reached at (407) 248-0030.