Preparing for the school year begins at home prior to the first day of school. Kids get excited to shop for new clothes and meet up with friends, but their worries and concerns often go unnoticed in the excitement. Parents are a powerful influence on their child’s school year experience because a parent’s attitude directly affects their child’s. It’s important to talk with your child about their concerns prior to the first day of school and work as a team to help them feel confident as the school year begins.
Parents can help small children adapt to a successful school year in several ways:
- Develop a routine. Children feel safe when they can count on a routine. Keeping a routine helps children feel confident by adding structure to their life.
- Talk to your child for several days, preparing them for their day. When your child is making a new transition, such as beginning school or starting a new grade in school, talking about it helps make it more comfortable. Reading stories about school and watching cartoons about the subject matter helps alleviate worry and fear.
- Follow the teacher’s rules. Your child will form a relationship with their teacher and whatever the teacher says is your child’s truth. If your child’s teacher has a rule, respect it as much as possible at home as well. One example is not allowing certain words to be said. No matter what the word is – if it is negative at school, do not say the word at home.
- Know and promote your child’s school friends to meet outside of school. Helping your child build friendships will help ease their school anxiety. If you know someone in the class, invite that child over with their parent prior to school.
- Develop a bedtime routine at least two weeks prior to the school year. This will help your child feel more rested.
- Let your child help you pack their snack, lunch, and backpack with necessary items for the first day of school. This list is usually sent to parents prior to the first day of school.
Helping teens and tweens maximize a successful school year means being there emotionally and physically if they need to talk, but also allowing them time to explore healthy coping mechanisms on their own. Parents who structure a healthy school environment for their child are mentoring the importance of education in their family. Below are suggestions that can also help:
- Have a schedule of when phones and computers will be turned off for the night. Kids need a structured routine to rely on.
- Discuss transportation. Go over rules with your teen driver and discuss options of transportation. Both you and your child should feel safe about their transportation to and from school.
- Know your child’s classes and which teacher your child has for each class. Attending the open house night prior to classes beginning is very helpful for children and their parents.
- Talk to your child about good study habits. Designate a quiet well-lit area in your home to be a study area. Find out which classes may require additional tutoring. Your child can plan their after-school activities easier if they know you are supportive with them getting additional help if they need it. Anxiety and stress over their grades can be minimized when parents help structure a plan beforehand.
When children of all ages are asked who their main influencers are, 90% of them say their moms and dads. Reassurance goes a long way! When parents get involved and let their children know they are there for them, their kids perform better in school.