Preparing Your Child for School
Updated: Nov 6, 2018
With school right around the corner, I thought it would be helpful to share some ideas I have gleaned from both teachers and counselors on how to prepare yourself and your children for the upcoming school year.
This article will be focused on the child and next week we will look at the parents. Many of these ideas you may already do intentionally; however, some may be new ideas you would like to implement.
First, begin getting the children back into their night time school routine at least a week before school starts. Start the process of getting their biological clock back in tune with going to bed earlier. This will begin to naturally condition both their mind and their body for those really early wake up calls.
Second, just as important as the bedtime routine is the morning routine. These two go hand in hand. It would be nice to start easing them into getting up earlier and earlier so by the time school starts they are acclimated to the new schedule.
This change should be a cooperative effort with the child and the parent. Both parties could spend some time brainstorming on how best to implement this morning routine.
One great incentive early on would be to let the child choose some breakfast options to eat when they start waking up early again. It can be some fun breakfast ideas (not healthy probably) and some other delicious but nutritional breakfast ideas (especially if you enjoy cooking).
The smell of fresh food being cooked in the morning is such a good way to slowly help your children see the value of getting back into the morning routine rather than sleeping in. Morning time doesn’t have to be a battle, and summer is the time to start preparing children for that.
This third idea is probably a no brainer, but I am always surprised at how many parents don’t take advantage of it.
Make sure you and your child meet the new teacher at the open house before school starts.
Give your child a moment to really converse with their new teacher and familiarize themselves with the classroom. This time really helps the parent, teacher, and child make a personal connection (this is very important). It can also help alleviate any anxiety a child may be having concerning the upcoming year.
During the open house, it is important for children to familiarize themselves, as much as they can, with their upcoming school schedule and all that entails. If they have a lock on their locker, make sure they are comfortable locking and unlocking it. If they have multiple classes, then walk through their schedule with them.
Make sure this time is not rushed. Relax and enjoy it with them because some day these sweet moments will be long past.
Finally, have a conversation with your children about the upcoming school year. Take some time to discuss their excitement and their concerns. Let the conversation be guided by your child. Do more listening than talking. Try not to give your opinion unless asked.
This isn’t a time to correct them, it is a time to connect with them. You want to let them know you understand their fears and are there for them when they need you. Ask them about their goals (what they wish for) instead of telling them about yours.
These goals/wishes may include big things like making friends or certain grades, or they may be other things like playing soccer during recess. These goals/wishes give you insight your child’s heart and how to support them this year.
If they don’t have any goals, give them an opportunity to think about it and revisit the conversation the next day.
I know school is right around the corner and all of you want your children to be successful. I feel the steps I mentioned will help your children start the year off on a positive note and help them feel more prepared and relaxed for the upcoming school year.
The fear of the unknown causes a lot of anxiety in both adults and children. The more they know going into it, the more comfortable they will feel.