Back to School
Sharpen those pencils and grab your books! Back to school is just around the corner. You may have already picked up all the essentials for your kids to start a new school year, but to really make the school year successful it’s important to prepare their minds as well as their backpacks and lunches! Charlotte’s Best Nanny found a few ways you can prepare your kids mentally and emotionally for the upcoming school year!
1. Talk to them early and often
It’s never too early to start talking with and listening to your children about the first day of school. Ask them what they think school will be like, and see if they have any specific concerns so that you’ll have time to address it over the next couple of weeks. It’s totally normal to have first day jitters.
2. Go to the school’s orientation
If your child’s school is hosting an orientation, take advantage of it. Often children are worried that they won’t know how to get to the bathroom, where to eat lunch or how to get to a locker. If your school doesn’t offer one, or you are unable to make it, ask the teacher if it would be possible to stop by for a visit. Teachers are usually in their classrooms prepping for the new school year in advance.
3. Meet their teacher(s)
For kids, wondering if they’ll like their teacher is a big source of fear. If your child isn’t comfortable in the teacher’s classroom, he or she will be less likely to be ready to learn. Many teachers will make themselves available for a phone call or will return an email if a visit isn’t possible.
4. For younger children, read books or watch educational cartoons
These materials can help children read about and see what a typical day will consist of and what they will learn in school. Some good examples are Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Slate, The Night Before First Grade by Wing and Amelia Bedelia’s First Day of School by Parish.
5. Set up ‘school zones’ and expectations
Establish a location for backpacks and distraction-free homework zones at home. Setup homework and study times to help manage expectations and establish good routines.
6. Practice your new routine
Both children and adults can benefit from practicing your new routine. Stage a morning dry run to see how long it takes you and your children to get out of the door in the morning. It will not only help you predict how early you and your kids need to get up, but your children will benefit from learning what to expect each week day.
Lastly, it’s important for parents and childcare professionals to remember that first day jitters are completely normal and can be relieved with some mental preparation leading up to the big day. Like with many things, children’s worries are likely related to the fear of the unknown. Talking about where things are and what will be different will go a long way to helping reduce their concerns.