Going back to school after summer break brings many emotions for parents.
Parents might experience sadness because their children seem to be growing up so quickly and/or that sinking feeling that we now have to get up every morning. There is also happiness because parents do not have to entertain these kiddos all day. Additionally, fear creeps in because we wonder if our students will be happy and successful this school year. Yes, going back to school brings many mixed emotions; however, parents and children can conquer these back to school jitters with some helpful tips.
Establish a Routine
First, establish a routine. Having a daily schedule for mornings and after school hours will help children perform better while at school. Some key components of this schedule should include a specific time for doing homework, playing, and preparing for the next day. Picking out clothes the night before as well as getting the backpack ready will make a much easier morning. Preparation the evening before will decrease last minute running around and morning arguments that can be easily prevented. Ease back into a school routine by beginning the schedule the week before school actually begins.
Another helpful tip is to keep open communication with your child. Just as parents have feelings about the start of a new school year, so do the children. Therefore, take the time to ask them about their day. Asking open ended questions such as, “Tell me about your friends” or “Tell me something that your teacher did today” can open the floor for discussion. Avoid asking yes or no questions because the conversation will quickly be over. Giving your child the chance to share fears, worries, and things that they are excited about will give them the opportunity for a positive school experience.
Connect with Friends
Connecting with friends will also be helpful for your children. Peer relations are vital to students feeling comfortable in the school setting and their academic success. Setting up play dates with familiar friends will assist in the students feeling relaxed in the new classroom setting. If possible, connecting with new classmates prior to the start of school is ideal. Going to the school’s sneak a peek prior to the first week of school will give your child a chance to meet his/her teacher and classmates.
Connect with the Teacher
While sneak a peek is a great time for your child to meet his/her classmates, it is also a perfect time to start building a relationship with the teacher. Parents will be able to get vital information regarding classroom routines, teacher communication, and general school procedures. Keeping open communication with the teacher is key to a successful year both academically and emotionally.
Connecting with the School Counselor
The school counselor works with students in a variety of ways. All students will see the school counselor in core curriculum lessons that address the social/emotional, academic and career domains. In addition to these lessons, the school counselor also offers small groups and individual counseling in order to remove any barriers that are impeding the students’ learning. Many times, school counselors will conduct new students groups for students that are new to the school. These groups are helpful with the transition. Parents can stay connected with the school counselor by consistently checking the counselor’s blog. This information will allow parents to see the wonderful lessons that the students are receiving and to reinforce these skills at home. The school counselor is always readily available to help students or parents with any concerns they may encounter.
The beginning of school can be a very exciting time; however, it can bring anxious moments for students and parents. Utilizing these helpful tips will alleviate these fears and make the transition from summer to school less anxiety provoking and more positive for everyone.
Melisa M. Marsh, Supervisor
Contributing Author: Michelle Stevens, Counselor at Kemp Elementary School