While there may be some kids out there who can’t wait for the first day of school (this writer was one of those few!), many are not as excited, whether it just be losing the freedom of summer or anxiety about doing well academically, making new friends, or trying out for sports.
You can help calm your youngsters’ fears—and maybe a few of your own—by using the tips below that are recommended by teachers.
Have a meet-and-greet.
It may sound like a networking meeting, but meeting the new teacher before the school year starts is a great way to conquer one of kids’ biggest fear: whether or not they will like their teacher. Most schools have an open house or “Back to School” night, which is the perfect time to meet the new teacher without the pressure of a one-on-one get together. Can’t make it to those? Try a phone call or email with the teacher, which many are happy to do, and perhaps ask for a photo so your child can see what they look like. Some sort of video chat would be a good idea too, if the teacher is willing.
Take a tour.
That open house or back to school night provides another fantastic opportunity—to tour the school with your child. Even if they have been to the school before, they may now be in another section or classroom, and the tour can help prevent nervousness on the first day. If it is the same school as the previous year, get your child involved by asking them to show you around—it’s a nice technique that will distract them from any butterflies in their tummies.
Check in with friends.
While many children play with friends from school all summer long, there may be some close school friends who do not live nearby. Reach out to them and schedule a play date or lunch, and perhaps get the carpool organized. Knowing there will be friendly faces on campus on the first day will be very comforting for both you and your student.
Most teachers will provide a supply list, so make a date for a special shopping trip. Help them feel prepared by providing them with all the right tools, especially if there are some they may need to practice with, like a calculator or protractor. Also, splurge a little bit and let them select one or two items, like a special notebook or a set of colored markers, making the trip a lot more fun.
Let them be kids.
It may be tempting to review last year’s classes the few weeks before school starts, try not to. While learning over the summer is a good thing, it’s also good to let your kids have some down time before classes begin. You can start a few days before the first day to get them prepared, like waking them up and even driving to school or the bus stop, but try not to make them anxious by drilling them about what they should be doing to prepare.
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