My two grandchildren entered their classroom, happy to start the new school year. Their mother had talked with them and prepared them well for what was ahead. Lily was eager to start kindergarten and Jackson, who hadn't spent much time away from his mom, waved goodbye to his mother, wading through other tearful children. What made the difference for them?
Preparation. They were talked to, read to, and their parents listened to their questions and concerns. What is your best tip to help anxious children prepare for a new school year, no matter their grade level?
Getting school supplies together can be an adventure for parent and child. However, I suggest that you check with your school for a grade-appropriate list if one is not available at your local store. You will avoid overspending and your child will have everything recommended by his teacher(s).
"Read, Read, Read" and keep on reading and writing. These two skills can give any student the confidence to do well in school.
Parents can set aside time to listen to their child at the end of the school day, over the supper table, as the dishes are being washed. Don't just ask, "How was your day?" You'll hear "Fine" and that is the end of your conversation. Ask "What did you learn in school today? and really listen.
If possible, take the child to the school before the year officially begins and let him/her learn the layout of the building and locate areas that will be part of the child's daily routine. Introduce your child to the principal, secretary, and teachers who may be working in the building preparing for classes to begin.
Becoming familiar with strange surroundings will make the first days of school a little less intimidating for a child. After children have confidence that they are secure in their new environment, they can concentrate more on making friends and learning from their teacher.
This tip is really appropriate for any age child. Even high school students may overcome anxiety by checking out their new school ahead of the first day of school.
Have you tried this approach with a child? Please share your experiences with us.
We used this approach with our children, especially since we moved often. It was very important to connect with the school they were going to attend each year. We wanted to make sure their previous school records were in place, find out what the curriculum was for the year so we could decide if there were gaps to be supported, and obtain information about upcoming school events.