The first day back to school after the long summer break might be something your child is dreading (or maybe just a few are excited), and yet it can’t come soon enough for some parents.
Whether your children are counting the days or dreading the first day, here are some parental tips for your kid’s first day back to school.
The Two Week Jump Start
Instead of waiting until the last two days to get ready for the start of school, give you and your kids a two week jump start. What do we mean exactly?
- Get organized before school gets back in session. It is a way to help kids get and stay organized themselves. Sit down with your children and plan what they will need in the way of school supplies. Hit the stores and have everything purchased, packed, and labeled ahead of time.
- Begin to change bedtime and wake up time two weeks before the start of school. Your little ones will complain, but you will have less problem getting them up on time when the big day arrives.
- As the first day of school approaches, decide what they will wear, or let them make that choice on their own if they’d prefer. Again, it will make for a smoother morning.
Tackle the Anxiety
Some kids are naturally anxious, so the start of a new school year takes a toll on them. Some of that anxiety could be due to a new school or just due to a change in grade. Children and young adults may also dread going back to school for other reasons, and parents should strive to discover the source of their child’s anxiety.
If the anxiety is a new school, there are many ways parents can allay those fears in kids. Take your child to the school before the beginning of classes. Walk through the building if possible, and meet their new teacher. Teachers are well aware of the “new kid” issues. They will appreciate the heads up and do whatever they can to make your child feel welcome.
If they dread going back to the same school, more may be going on. Lovingly question them about their anxiety and why they are nervous about returning. Parents may discover the source is bullying. Your child may be the victim, or even a sideliner who watches the bullying happening. These sad situations can make a youngster unsure, unhappy, and afraid to do anything. If your child is being bullied at school or online, assure them it is wrong, that they are not at fault, and it can be stopped. Speak to the principal or guidance counselor for help and direction. Teach your child how to stand up for themselves and/or walk away from a bully. This problem has far reaching effects that can impact the rest of your child’s life if it is not addressed quickly and appropriately.
Set up Your Home for Success
No matter how old your children are, they need rules, boundaries, and consequences.
- Communicate what is expected and be consistent. This should include bedtime lights out and when the alarm is set for the morning. Getting enough sleep is important for your child’s success in school.
- Set up a place for homework in the home that includes as few potential distractions as possible, and set the time to begin working each night. Check or sign homework as teachers require.
- Create a family communication and schedule center. You can use a large bulletin board and the kids can hang up tests or work to be signed. Post any daily and after school activities in this area so everyone is aware of what is going on day-by-day. The lunch cafeteria schedule can be posted as well so your kids can take a bag lunch on days they don’t care for the school menu. Anything and everything that parents and children need to be aware of should be announced here for all to see.
Whether your child walks to school, rides a bus, or is part of a car pool, go through all the important safety precautions with them. Explain bus safety and courtesy like “find a seat and stay in it.” If they plan to walk to and from school, be sure the route is safe with adult crossing guards, and that your children know the way before you let them venture out by themselves.
Explain that they should never accept a ride from strangers and they should come directly home from school or to their after school care provider.
The first day of school should be exciting for both children and parents. New adventures, new activities, new friends, and learning new things await your child! Contact Plymouth Pediatric Associates to schedule a yearly physical or a hearing and vision screening before school starts. You can also contact us with any additional questions or concerns that you and your kids have about starting the new year at school. Give us a call at 508-746-5900 today!