“Taking time to talk with and listen to your child about the upcoming school year is one of the best ways parents can help their child transition to school life,” says Robin Gurwitch, Ph.D., Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
Dr. Gurwitch advises that parents begin talking to their child about school a couple weeks before it starts, and that they listen closely for their child’s fears or concerns. She explains that how parents talk to their child, as well as what they say are both important.[ Also Read: Knowledge Stories for Children – Ten Tales ]
Dr. Gurwitch gives the following advice to parents on how to help children of all ages prepare for the upcoming school year.
Preschoolers and kindergartners need to know what will happen
- Parents should take their child to visit their school and let them play on the school’s playground and meet their new teachers.
- Parents can also choose children’s books about school life to help their child understand what to expect in school.
- Parents can let their children watch television shows such as “Blue’s Clues,” “Dora the Explorer” and “Sesame Street” to help prepare them for what they will learn at school.
- To help ease the transition, parents may want to tuck some small reminders of home into their child’s backpacks, such as photos of the family or parents.
- Parents should establish routine bed and wake up times to prepare their child for their school schedule.
Elementary school children will need to adjust to new beginnings
- Parents should allow their child some freedom to buy something they want, such as trendy folders or pencils.
- Parents should talk to their child about the new teachers he will have and the new friends he will meet. The notion of a fresh start is usually appealing to children, and can help neutralize bad feelings about school.
Teens need positive reinforcement
- Parents should help their teen set goals on how to get the best grades.
- Parents should help their teen become organized by buying a daily planner and teaching the child how to use it correctly.
- Parents should encourage their teen to get involved in at least one extracurricular activity or sport because it will help them meet people. Studies also suggest that when children feel connected to their school they have another reason to do better academically.
- Parents should convey a sense of optimism regarding the child’s success because it enhances a child’s motivation and sense of hope.
Photo courtesy: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center