The start of the school year can be an exciting time for children and their parents! The way you prepare your child—and yourself—for the start of a new school year will depend on several things, including:
- Your child’s level of excitement and/or anxiety around starting the school year
- Any changes for your child—Is this a new school? Is he transitioning from half-day to full day? Will he be taking the bus instead of walking?
- How familiar is your child with his new teacher and classmates?
- Your child’s feelings about school in general and his/her experiences from last year.
Often children who had a negative experience from last year will be more anxious as the first day draws closer. If the ghost of school years past are haunting your child, take time to break down last year’s difficulties to make this year more enjoyable. (And see my post on this topic.) After all, this year is a fresh start!
Also, children who are facing a major transition, such as going from a half-day to a full-day schedule or taking the bus instead of walking, may feel nervous around this new routine. Talk to your child about the new process and walk him through where he needs to go and when. If your child’s school offers walk-through activities like kindergarten round-up or a practice bus ride for preparation, it will probably be helpful – and soothing!) – for you and your child to see the classroom, say hi to the teacher and/or learn the bus routine.
Lastly, if your child will be seeing mostly new faces in his/her classroom this year, this can be a great time to find other parents and older students who are familiar with your child’s soon-to-be-teacher and ask about their experiences.
Once you have had a conversation with your child around the upcoming school year, look into the additional activities listed below for helpful and age-appropriate activities to prepare for the start of school…
- Attending the school’s open house/back to school night
- Go shopping for school supplies
- Get a copy of your child’s schedule
- Get a map of the school
- Adjust bedtime and wake-up times gradually, starting about ten days before the first day of school
- Arrange play dates with your child and any classmates he knows, giving a chance to get reacquainted if they haven’t seen much of each other over the summer
- Check your email/school website for any changes
- Make sure any summer assignments (reading, etc) are finished
Best wishes on an awesome first day of school and positive kick-off to the year!