The first day of school is right around the corner! If your child is facing the anxiety of starting a new school this year because of a move, or even a grade level change, here are five tips to help make that change a little less painful (for them, and for you!):
- Do a test run. Practice the first day of school. Take your child to their bus stop or drive them to school. Plan to tour the school and if possible, meet their teacher or see their classroom ahead of time. Ask school personnel about programs for new kids and any suggestions they might have to ease the transition.
- Stay Positive. Education Corner advises “There is nothing that will help your child maintain a positive attitude toward their new school than your positive attitude. If you’re concerned about the transition, and you let it show, your child will be concerned too. It’s okay to discuss your child’s fears and expectations, but reassure them they’re going to have great year. Sometimes it’s helpful to let your child know that every other child is going through the same thing they are.”
- Preparation. This may sound obvious, but do your parental homework – you don’t want to be the cause of additional anxiety for your child.
- Complete everything on the registration checklist so the school is prepared to have your child as a student.
- Make sure the school has all the records it needs – completed physical forms, vaccinations, record transfers, etc.
- Pay for lunches ahead of time.
- Do your child a favor and make sure he/she has the basic supplies needed for the first day of school.
- Be on time! Dropping off, at the bus stop, picking up.
- Be patient. During a transition phase, your child may be quieter than ever, or begin to question everything. They might have more attitude than they normally do. Remember they’re reacting to a new environment, and you shouldn’t change your standards for how they’re expected to behave, but they will need time to adjust. (pathways.org)
- Keep Family Traditions Going. There is comfort in the familiarity of traditions. If you have a back-to-school tradition, be sure you keep it alive during this transition time. If you don’t, now is the time to begin one to help celebrate a new school year. Keep it simple (you’ll be doing this for the next few years).
Our family always had a tradition of a back to school breakfast with a cute table setting, their favorite foods, and a new (inexpensive) gift … maybe new gel pens or a super-hero notebook. Our neighbors always met their child after school on the first day and they went out for a treat and talked about the day. Make it fun and you’ll both look forward to the 1st day of school tradition and make some great memories!
A final note from pathways.org: Be on the watch for signs of stress in your child. If you notice your child’s showing signs of poor transitioning, it’s important to talk to them about it, and to meet with their teachers and administrators so you can work to target the sources of your child’s discomfort. School guidance counselors and school psychologists can also help with difficult transitions.
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