In just a few days, many children will go back to school (many may have already started) and it is normal for both parents and children to feel anxious about the new academic year. As a teacher, I would like parents to know that we (teachers) are as or more anxious/nervous as they are. It does not matter if we are in our first or tenth year of teaching…it does not get any easier, we just get a bit better at it.
Back to School in Five Easy Steps
Below I am sharing 5 simple things parents/guardians can do to help children feel more at ease and therefore make the new school year feel great from the very beginning:
1. Try to schedule a meeting with your child’s teacher: Every year, I have the opportunity to meet 2-3 students before the school year begins. Giving children the opportunity to meet his/her teacher can ease anxiety. Here students can ask questions, take a peek at the new classroom, and just relieve the many pressures he/she may feel. Of course, this may not apply to everyone, but as a parent you should feel comfortable about asking for a meeting and making the transition a bit less stressful.
2. Do not stress about the supply list: Some schools are allowed to request materials/school supplies. If this applies to you – please do not stress about it. Your child will NOT use a pack of erasers or 10 pencils on the first day. However, shopping during the back-to-school sale is a smart move. One important thing to keep in mind: if you are not in the position or unable to purchase the items let us know – we will figure something out. It is NOT a big deal.
3. Talk to your child about meals at school: Whether you pack a nutritious lunch or plan to have him/her eat at the school cafeteria – talk to your child and have an honest discussion about what he/she eats. As a teacher, it makes me really sad to see food thrown away because it is not consumed (perfectly made sandwiches, delicious salads or carrot sticks). Or children who ‘say’ they eat at school, but hardly eat what they are served. Try packing a healthy snack in addition to lunch. Children could always eat an apple or granola bar towards the end of the day.
4. Have your child log in the necessary hours of sleep: According to their age, children require more/less sleep hours, yet parents would be surprised how many students come to school really tired because they went to bed really late. Establishing a routine is crucial – children thrive when there is a predictable set of activities (of course…things can get hectic at times!) and do better when they know what comes next. Going to bed early allows your child to recover, rest and wake up prepared for the day.
5. Help your child set goals for the new school year: Discuss with your child 2-3 goals he/she may have for the new school year. The goals do not have to be academic, but a good balance is great. A reading goal; for example, may be to make sure he/she reads before going to bed every night, or get done as soon as he/she gets home from school (instead of waiting for the very last minute at night). One important thing to keep in mind is that you are helping your child channel his thoughts/ideas – they are NOT your goals. Take the time to write the goal, post it in a visible place and revisit it as often as needed. It is not about perfection, but trying to be better each day.
I could go on and on about back to school suggestions, but I am trying to make it simple. Make sure you take the time to enjoy the experience and savor each day because the truth is…children grow up too fast.
Images thanks to The United States Department of Education
About the Author
Born and raised in Ecuador, South America, Kelly moved to the United States when she was eighteen. She obtained a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration and later worked in the private sector for a few years. She returned to school and obtained her teaching credentials and Master Degree in Education. Kelly’s teaching journey has taken her many places, and last year she moved to a dual-language school, which is the main reason she decided to start her own blog (Learning in Two Languages) and create her own bilingual teaching resources.