TIPS FOR GETTING BACK INTO THE SCHOOL ROUTINE
Getting a new school year off to a good start can influence children’s attitude, confidence, and performance both socially and academically. The transition from August to September can be difficult for both children and parents. Even children who are eager to return to class must adjust to the greater levels of activity, structure, and, for some, pressures associated with school life.
We thank all of our parents for helping with this adjustment by coming in during the summer to meet with school staff and completing the necessary paperwork. If you were unable to meet with us before school started, please feel free to contact us so we can better serve you and your child and ease their transition. The following information highlights some ways parents can help their child the next few weeks, handle any anxiety they may feel, and what to do when problems arise:
The First Couple of Weeks
Be available: You want to provide extra time to be there to help your child adjust to the school routine and overcome the confusion or anxiety that many children experience at the start of a new school year.
Set alarm clocks: Have your child set their alarm clocks and praise them for prompt response to morning schedules and bus pickups
Leave plenty of extra time: Make sure your child has plenty of time to get up, eat breakfast, get dressed, and get to school.
After school: Review with your child what to do if he or she gets home after school and you are not there. Leave a note card in their backpack with the name(s) and number(s) of someone they can contact if needed.
Review your child’s schoolbooks: Talk about what your child will be learning during the year. Share your enthusiasm for the subjects and your confidence in your child’s ability to learn the content.
Communication: Let the teachers know if you are interested in getting regular feedback on how and what your child is doing in school. Attend school events such as open-house and meet your child’s teachers. Inform them how you would like to be contacted (i.e. notes, e-mails, texts, or phone calls).
Let your child know you care: If your child is anxious about school, send personal notes in the lunch box or book bag. Reinforce the ability to cope. Children absorb their parent’s anxiety, so model optimism and confidence for your child. Let your child know that it is natural to be a little nervous anytime you start something new but that your child will be just fine once he or she becomes familiar with classmates, the teacher, and school routine.
Remain calm and positive: Acknowledge anxiety over a bad experience the previous year. Children who had a difficult time academically or socially or were teased or bullied may be more fearful or reluctant to return to school. If you have not yet done so, share your child’s concern with the school and confirm that the problem has been addressed. Reassure your child that the problem will not occur again in the new school year, and that you and the school are working together to prevent further issues.
Reinforce your child’s ability to cope. Give your child a few strategies to manage a difficult situation on his or her own. But encourage your child to tell you or the teacher if the problem persists. Maintain open lines of communication with the school.
Do not overreact: If the first few days are a little rough, try not to over react. Again, remain calm and be assured your child’s teachers, principal, and counselors are trained to help them adjust.
When Problems Arise
These recommendations can contribute to a positive and productive school experience for most children. Some children may exhibit more extreme opposition to or fear of school or may be coping with more specific difficulties.
If your child shows difficulties that seem extreme in nature and/or have occurred over an extended period of time, please feel free to contact the school to schedule an appointment to meet with your child’s teachers, behavior therapist, and school psychologist. We can offer support that will help identify and reduce the problem. We may also suggest other resources within the school and community to help you address the situation.
While children can display a variety of behaviors, it is generally wise not to over-interpret those behaviors. More often than not, time and a few intervention strategies will remedy the problem. Most children are wonderfully resilient and, with your support and encouragement, will thrive throughout their school experience.