It’s that time of year again and for many parents including myself, it’s time to start thinking about back to school.
Only a few weeks away, it’s obvious that the butterflies are starting to set in. Who will my teacher be? Will I still be in the same class with all of my friends?
Questions such as these are normal and there are ways to help keep your little ones and not so little ones settled as they begin a new school year.
The first step is planning ahead.
According to Dr. Gail Gross, children take their cue from their parents. If parents are calm, reassuring, optimistic and supportive, children will feel both confident and competent.
For children, the big thing is fitting in.
Parents can always shop ahead after finding out dress codes and school supply lists so there is no last minute shopping.
“Children will experience separation anxiety and so will parents. Therefore, it is important for parents to take the lead and parent, not burdening their children with their own anxieties,” Gross says.
“Be honest with your children, talk to them about their fears and listen with empathy. Children will tell you everything.”
This will also give your child a sense of control as they begin a new and exciting experience.
Some additional tips in preparing your children for a new school year according to Dr. Gross:
If possible, find out if there are any friends, relatives or neighbors in your child’s class. Knowing someone can create a buddy system making the transition easier.
Do your homework and speak to teachers, nurses and guidance counselors in advance in regards to any health or behavioral issues.
Start a bedtime schedule one week in advance before school begins so that your child has at least 10 hours of sleep a night.
Develop a “safety first” attitude. Young children should know traffic safety, how to spell their name and their telephone number.
But most of all, it’s about being empathetic, compassionate and nurturing. This is a new chapter in their lives.
“You can’t spoil your children with love.”