Going back to school can be a tough time for parents, children, and teachers alike. With the new school year right around the corner, Earlychildhood NEWS has compiled some tips from our readers to help prepare teachers, parents, and children for the new school year.
Tips for Parents
- Deal with “fear of the unknown.” Bring your children on a tour of the school before school starts. Let them see their classroom and possibly meet the teacher. This is will give them an idea of what to expect on their first day of school and is also a great way to open discussions: “when I go to school…", my friends are…", “my favorite thing to do at school is…”.
- Prepare your child. Hang a calendar in your child’s room so that they can mark off the days until school begins. This allows your children to visually see how long it will be until school starts.
- Develop an early sleep schedule. Get your children back on an early sleep schedule at least 2 weeks before school starts.
- Back-to-school shopping. School shopping can prove to be fun when your children take part in choosing their school supplies, new clothes, lunch boxes, backpacks, etc.
- Discuss your children’s expectations. Ask your children what they expect about returning to school. Read books about children starting school, which are appropriate for their age/grade level. You can address any feelings that your child might have about starting school: new adventures, making new friends, separation anxiety, etc. Make sure to ask them if they have any questions or concerns about returning to school and address any possible fears that they might have.
- Let your child know you care. Write your child a little note and put it in their lunch/snack bag to remind them that you think of them during the day.
Tips for Teachers
- Create a welcoming environment. Creating a welcome environment cannot be underestimated as it plays a crucial role in children’s ability to adapt and adjust. The more welcome a child feels in a new environment the faster they will overcome any anxieties that they may have of entering that new environment.
- Establish a lasting relationship with the parents. This will not only help out in ensuring them that their children will be in a safe and caring environment but will make it easier for future communication with them.
- Get to know your children ahead of time. Hold an orientation the week before school starts so that parents and children can meet before the first day of school. Kids can see their classroom, parents can meet the teacher, and the children can meet and play together.
- Create a newsletter. Write a newsletter to parents and send it home before school starts. You can include recommendations on special books about starting school, tips on coping with separation anxiety, etc.
- Comforting children. Encourage parents to enclose family pictures and comfort toys for their children to look at or play with when they are having a “sad” moment while at school.