“Will my teacher be nice? Where will I sit? Will the other kids like me?” Many kids get nervous about heading back to school. A big part of a successful first week is establishing a routine and explaining where the bathroom is, what happens when you go to gym class and when to expect breaks. With a little preparation, parents can help. Here’s how to make your child’s transition a smooth one.
:: Remember Routines
Family routines tend to slide in the summer — after all, what’s summer without crazy bedtimes — and it can be hard to readjust come September. Well before school starts, focus on choosing sleep, exercise, healthy foods, and time together. Practice school bedtimes a week before school starts so that the new routine is established, say the experts.
:: Get Ready!
Don’t underestimate the fun and importance of new stuff for the big day. With younger kids, a bag full of school supplies, a new backpack and a few new items of clothing tend to gear them up without any further encouragement. For an older child, this may be the time to give the thumbs-up to that must-have trend item, especially if he’s earned some money over the summer to pay for it.
:: Show Them the Way
If she’s new to the school, show your child her classroom, what entrance and exit to use and where the bathroom is located. If she’s taking the bus, visit the bus stop location and explain how to get on and off, especially if it’s the first time. Show her the drop off and pick up spot at school, too — if you’re not sure where it will be, call the school ahead of time to find out. Some schools will allow you to take a tour during the summer and arrange to meet the teacher.
:: Prepare the Teacher
Let your child’s teacher know about any specifics about behaviour or health, such as a bladder infection. You don’t want a child to have a bad experience because he’s asking to go to the bathroom every half hour and the teacher says, ‘No,’ thinking he doesn’t need to go so frequently but really he does.
:: Talk, Talk, Talk
Try to think of all the positive things that they like about school and talk about them as much as possible, ask about friends they haven’t seen over the summer. Never mention homework or teachers they weren’t crazy about.
:: Be Organized
Ease back-to-school anxiety by being prepared. Help your child to lay out her clothes and pack her backpack the night before. Be sure to include a healthy lunch and a snack that your child can open and eat on his own.
:: Take It Easy
Preparation is great —but don’t go overboard. You can make back-to-school too big a deal! If September was a hard month for you as a kid, it might not necessarily be the same for your child, and vice versa. You’re the best judge of when your child needs reassurance, and how to go about giving it.
In the end, remember that it’s normal to feel a little nervous or fluttery about that first week back. Everyone, including the teachers, feels like that.