Ten weeks of summer is just too long these days for kids and parents to brave. For some parents they have experienced the endless summer as their toddlers will be going to school for the very first time. Other parents will be fighting the struggles and anxiety some children feel shortly before going back to school. The event can be troublesome with getting back into the routine of early bedtimes, early morning wake-up calls, different teachers, different schools. Here are 10 tips to help your child (and you) for back to school.
1. Remember that going back to school is an adjustment for your child. Sleeping schedules will change. Try to have your child, especially younger ones, change to a “school sleep schedule” about a week before school begins. This will help avoid sleepiness in the classroom.
2. Plan ahead so you can be sure to go to the open house and meet your child’s teacher. Afterwards you can even follow that up with an email. Email is a great and easy method for quick communication.
3. Be aware of your comments about your child’s teacher. Sometimes children pick up on discontent from a parent and it results in disrespect from the child. Children often feel that the parent acts appropriately, so make sure you keep negative comments out of small ears.
4. Set aside a time for your child to focus on tasks. Make sure that it isn’t immediately after school. Children do need a mental break. Perhaps, after dinner, have your child look over the day’s work for at least 30 minutes. This should be done while sitting at a table-like structure and without television and music as a distraction.
5. Make sure that when you help your child with homework that you do not attempt to reteach. Often, this confuses the them with mixed information. A better approach is to have your child teach you. Make them explain what they learned for the day. Ask questions as though you are the child. If there is something they do not state clearly or cannot answer, make a note of that for the teacher. This helps narrow the misunderstandings your child is having.
6. Realize that teachers see many children in the day. You have one. Teachers went into education because they care, but that doesn’t exempt you from responsibility. If you are concerned, contact them. Don’t wait. If it is important enough for you to notice, let the teacher know.
7. Your child will act differently for you than with another adult. There are different dynamics in a classroom versus at home. Make sure to be supportive of appropriate behavior in large groups.
8. Volunteer at the school if possible. Getting the “inside” perspective often provides a greater understanding of how everything works within the classroom.
9. Keep in mind the ideas of SMART goals. Students should have a goal that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Realistic is often the hardest. Make sure you are not attributing aspects of yourself to your child.
10. Remember that every child is unique. Each one learns differently, reacts differently, and interprets differently. Make sure to let your child know that the unique qualities they have are the fantastic aspects of them.
(Tips courtesy of Dr. Kimberly Stone, Professor, Argosy University, Hawaii)
Not every child and or situation will be the same, Dr. Kimberly Stone’s 10 tips are a great start to assist any child and or parent for the back to school transition. Remember that your child’s success and happiness is most important, be sure to support them, be patient and understanding. Back to school is also an adjustment for parents as we too get back into the routine of preparing lunches, carpools and the hustle and bustle of a busy work and school week. Good luck kids in a successful school year and parents, enjoy this time as our little learners head back for a great and adventurous learning experience.