By Amber McClarin, IEA Enrollment Coordinator
The nation’s children are headed back into the classroom as the 2019-2020 school year gets underway! New beginnings can be a grab bag of emotions. Excitement, fear, anticipation – going back to school is not for the faint of heart. Here are some ideas to help ease the way into new beginnings.
Setting the Scene
An early visit to a new classroom can help relieve anxiety. If your child’s school is hosting an Open House or back to school event, attending can create a sense of comfort and familiarity. If this is not possible, discuss with your child what they can expect. Compare the new experience to something familiar: “Your classroom might be like the one we went to last year at your brother’s report card night.”
Even if your child is excited about the beginning of school, they may also have concerns. Speaking positively about the transition can go a long way to reducing fear. Remind your child of a successful time they were in a new environment: “I remember how you made friends with Amy at the picnic when you did not know her.”
In the morning rush of everyone getting ready for school or work, small things may get overlooked. An established morning routine is helpful: backpack, lunch (don’t forget utensils), review of afternoon plans and most importantly, goodbyes. Goodbyes can serve as a punctuation to the morning routine and help transitions.
Transitions Take Time
New activities are stressful. At the beginning of the year, teachers work hard to establish a routine and provide students with guidelines and expectations. The structure of predictable routines both at home and school reduce anxiety. Just a few minutes with your child at the end of the day to let them tell you how things went will go a long way in back-to-school adjustment. If your child reports “problems,” try to refrain from giving solutions, but let your child tell you what they think and what they would like to see happen before discussing actions. Sometimes, like adults, a child just wants to be heard.
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