Whether your child is entering the school setting for the first time or a seasoned student entering the next grade, a new school year is often met with nervous excitement and at least a little anxiety. As a parent, it’s your job to minimize your child’s fears by being positive about going to school.
In the information below, we give you several tips for helping your child make a smooth transition into the school year. You’ll learn ways to alleviate their anxiety and give them a positive outlook on the year ahead.
1. Set Expectations Without Pressure
First and foremost, your child is going to school to learn. Their job is to do their best and get good grades. Let them know that you’re always available to help them with their homework and that you’ll get extra help if you can’t figure it out.
You can find tutors online by doing a Google search, or you can ask your child’s teacher for recommendations. It’s best if you do this preemptively rather than waiting for their grades to falter. This means checking in regularly with your little one to see if they’re enjoying school, if they’re struggling in a certain subject, or if there’s something they’d like to learn that isn’t taught at school. The goal here is to let your child know they have support and encouragement at every turn.
2. Visit the School Ahead of Time
Visiting the school before the year starts will help your child understand where to go when they get there on the first day. It also lets them see things like the playground and the gymnasium where they’ll have lots of fun throughout their time at school. Knowing where to go beforehand will alleviate some of the anxiety about starting this new chapter in life.
3. Read Books About Starting School
If your child is entering kindergarten for the first time, reading books with characters that are also entering school for the first time will help them feel better about the upcoming start of school. Check your local library for books you can read together, and pause as you read to discuss the story and get your child’s feelings about going to school for the first time.
4. Talk to Your Child About How They’re Feeling
The social aspect of school can be overwhelming for most children. Bullying is a real thing, and it’s no fun when you’re on the receiving end of it. Although most schools have a zero-tolerance bullying policy, it does still happen. So, it’s important to discuss this with your child to find out how they’re feeling about making friends, talking to teachers, and participating in class discussions. Take the opportunity to teach tolerance and acceptance of everyone to make doubly sure your child doesn’t become a bully.
5. Send Encouraging Notes in Their Lunch
One way to let your child know you’re thinking about them when they’re away at school is to send an encouraging note in their lunch. It doesn’t have to be anything long or detailed – a simple sketch or funny joke is enough to elicit a smile. This special touch is especially helpful if your child is feeling separation anxiety or is having a hard time adjusting to the new school schedule.
Starting a new school year can be tough on beginning and seasoned students alike. After a summer filled with fun and freedom from schedules, getting back into a routine can be overwhelming. Implement the tips above to make the transition from summer to school a smooth one for both you and your child.