Everyone is a little nervous about the unknown and starting a new school year is the unknown to a child. It’s a little unknown even if your child is going back to the same school. They don’t know who their teacher will be, they don’t know if their new teacher will be nice, and they don’t know if their friends will be in their class. Here are some tips on how to help your child get prepared to start the new year.
Visit the school if possible
This is especially important if your child is going to a new school. Some schools may be locked and unable to visit, but if this is not the case, visit the school.
Go to the school during the summer and walk around. Show and remind your student where the bathrooms are, where the cafeteria is, and where the playground is. Being familiar with the layout of the school will help your child feel a little more comfortable.
If the school has a website, visit the website. The website will often have pictures of the school, along with pictures of the principal and teachers.
Tell stories of how you were nervous before school started
Children love to hear stories about when you were their age. If your story involves feeling the same way they are feeling, that is even better. Children don’t like to feel like they are the only one feeling this way. Sharing your story will help your child feel better.
It’s always fun to go Back to School shopping and buy a few new supplies and a backpack for the new year. Check your local ads because the stores usually have great deals during the summer. Even if money is tight right now you will be surprised at how much you can buy with just a little money.
If your child gets to pick out a few new things for school it will make him/her feel better. It is also a good idea to buy a couple new outfits for the new year. People always tend to feel better when they are wearing new clothes.
Countdown to the first day
Using a calendar, countdown to the first day of school. Make the first day of school a day of celebration and a day to look forward to. Each day as you mark off the days talk about all the good things school has to offer. Your child will be able to eat some of their favorite school lunches, they will see their friends, they will have recess.
Enjoy your summer
Ask your child to make a list of what he/she wants to do during the summer before school starts. Try, within reason, to complete all the activities on the list before the end of the summer. After your child finishes all the activities on the list he/she will feel he accomplished something and will be more likely to start a new adventure- A new school year!
Start preparing for the first day a couple weeks early
During the summer, children tend to gradually stay up later and sleep in later. A couple weeks before school starts have your child go to bed 15-20 minutes earlier each night. In the morning wake them up a few minutes earlier each day also. By doing this, your child will be able to go to sleep at a reasonable time the day before school starts.
The first day of school
Get prepared the night before to avoid chaos in the morning. Lay out the outfit your child wants to wear and put the backpack near the door. In the morning, make your child a special breakfast for the first day of school. Be sure to leave the house early to avoid the first day of school traffic. Most parents drive their child to school on the first day so the parking lot is always crowded.
If your child wants you to, stay in line with him/her until the teacher comes to pick up the class. Introduce yourself to the teacher and thank him/her for being your child teacher for the year. By introducing yourself to the teacher your child will feel comfortable knowing that the teacher knows who you are in case they need to contact you during the day.
At the end of the day pick up your child on time. Ask how his/her day went and congratulate him/her on making it through the first day.
Following these simple steps will make the arrival of school a happy event rather than a scary event.