Preparing Your Child For the New School Year7 min read
Back to school can be a time of both excitement and nervousness for what the new year has in store. Kids either cannot wait to go back and meet their buddies after a long break or dread whatever will be thrown at them as they advance a grade.
Likewise, parents are either waiting in anticipation to send their kids back to school or shudder at the thought of the flustering school routines returning. Irrespective of whichever side of the spectrum you and your kids are on, the coming of the new school year is inevitable, so the best way to face it is to be well-prepared for it!
Here are a few tips to get you started in the right direction:
Gradually adjust your child’s schedule and put routines in place
Kids are usually used to staying up late during the vacation and getting up late. But as school time approaches, your child will need to be prepared to sleep early and wake up on time. A sudden transition from casual bedtimes just a few days before school begins is probably not the best idea. Easing into the school routine a couple of weeks before school starts is a great way to get your child accustomed to proper schedules.
It is an excellent practice to follow to send your child off to bed early at a specific time and wake them up around the same time they would need to get up for school. This way, they will find it easy to get up during school and have enough sleep required for their brain to develop and function healthily. Similarly, set appropriate mealtimes and serve your child his meals around the same time he will have them when school starts.
Have conversations about what is to come
When preparing your child for the new year, it is helpful to have conversations about how it will be and what exactly she can expect. Discuss your child’s hopes, ambitions, and expectations from the coming academic year and help her put some goals in place. Reflecting on the previous year will also help you think of specific goals your child may want to achieve this year. Maybe she would like to do things a little differently from last year or put more effort into the tasks she takes on.
Reviewing the new school year and the first day will also help your child feel more prepared and confident to take on new challenges. Discussing how she will get to school and back, how long school will be, and what differences might come into place will help ease the back-to-school jitters.
Aid your child’s relationship with the teacher
As kids begin school, they need to adapt to the new environment. Feeling secure and trusting their teachers, especially if they’re going to have new ones, is a big part. A child will be able to focus well and learn in class when he knows that he can trust the authority figures around him.
You can take your child to meet with his teacher before school begins. Having a little chat with his teacher about the new school year will help your child feel better as he gets acquainted with her. If this is not possible, talking to your child about his teacher might also help. Tell him that his teachers are there to guide him with every bit of difficulty that he might face. You can also encourage your child to write a nice note or make a drawing for his teacher on the first day of school. If you notice that your child isn’t comfortable even after a few weeks of school, consider calling up the teacher and letting her know that you would appreciate her making a little more personal effort to help him settle in. Any teacher would be more than willing to help her students.
Encourage your child to bond with new kids and rekindle old friendships
Children can begin to look forward to going to school when they know that their friends will be there too. So, talk to your child about making new friends once school starts. Assure her that she does not have to be everyone’s friend but that she can make a little extra effort to make one or two new ones. Encourage your child to bond with children in the neighborhood. She might find a buddy to keep her company on the first day of school!
If your child has friends from the previous school year, invite them over for a playdate or a meal. As your child works on her friendships, she won’t feel alone once school begins.
Make sure your child doesn’t lose touch with his academics
Most kids completely forget about any studies during the vacation, and for a good reason. Nobody likes to study on holiday! However, as a parent, you need to ensure that your child does not completely lose track of everything he learned in school the previous year. You don’t have to force him to study every single day, but getting your child into the habit of reading a few books or revising a few math problems once in a while is not such a bad idea.
If your child has holiday homework, don’t let him leave it in a corner and remember it one night before school begins. Please encourage your child to work on a little bit every few days so that when it’s time to go back to school, he has no pending last-minute work left to complete.
Make back-to-school prep fun and exciting
If you see your child moping around about how she hates that school will start, make an effort to change that. You can have conversations about how fun school will be because she will meet her old friends and make new ones, she gets to learn more about a topic that interested her last year, and so on. You could also take your child shopping for school supplies and clothes. Let her pick out what she likes and help her arrange her bag. This way, your child will be keener and more excited to use what she has picked out.
Clean down for school
As the new school year approaches, please work with your child to clean your house and get it ready for school. Your kids can put away old clothes, books, and toys they have outgrown. They can clean the clutter off their study tables to make room for new school material. If your child doesn’t have a study table, help him decide on a place to study and do his homework, a site that is preferably well-lit and free from distractions. You can also organize an easily accessible area for snacks and after-school food.
Prepare your child to say goodbye
Not every child finds it easy to say goodbye to their parents and head off for school. If you know that your child struggles with separation and can get clingy or teary, start preparing her for it beforehand. Establish a parting tradition of saying goodbye with a hug and
an ‘I love you, and I can’t wait to see you soon!’. You can also give your child a token – a favorite toy, book, or a small item that brings back some good family memories – to help her feel connected to you in school. You could also give your child a small family photo and write a note for her to read. Make sure your child knows that she is in safe hands on the bus and in school.
Most importantly, all you need to do is be there for your child as a parent. Whether he wants to talk about his worries, rant about his day, or complaint about a friend or teacher being mean, be available to listen to your child. Pay attention to what worries your child and lookout for signs of deeper issues (like bullying and so on).
Reassure your child that you are always there for him, and he can come to you with any worries at any time. Show your child extra love and affection as the time to return to school comes closer, and continue it even after school begins. Be your child’s biggest cheerleader and make sure he knows that he always has a friend in you.
Some children look forward to school with lots of joyful anticipation, while others can’t shake the feeling of dread as the time to return comes closer. Whatever your child feels about school, by using these tips and preparing them for the new school year, you will be able to smoothen the transition from lazy days at home to more rigorous and activity-filled days in school.