From the Desk of an Educator (and Parent): How to Help Your Child Transition & ENJOY Back to School Season
As a parent of a young daughter who has just started second grade at a new school, I’ve researched the latest back to school advice and found these helpful tips on PBS. Of course, as co-owner of after-school learning centers, I am well aware of the challenges children face each fall as they stumble back to school after a long summer break. However, that does not make it automatically easy for me to help my own daughter tackle school on a positive note. I’d like to share some tips to help parents experience a smoother transition to the fall season.
Meet the new teacher. Take advantage of your school’s open house or back-to-school night. Some teachers welcome phone calls or e-mails — another great opportunity to get to know each other before the year begins. (BTW: we hear that emails are much better than phone calls these days as it makes it easier for teachers to respond).
Connect with friends. You might try calling parents from last year’s class and finding out which children are in your child’s class this year. Refresh these relationships near the beginning of the school year by scheduling a play date or a school carpool.
Avoid last-minute drilling. When it’s almost time to stop playing, give a five-minute warning. Giving clear messages to your child is very important.
Ease into the routine. Set the alarm clock, go through your morning rituals, and get in the car or to the bus stop on time. Daily routines help children feel comfortable and reduce friction at home. You can find more details on http://www.pbs.org.
My particular back-to-school challenges are related to my daughter’s caution in adjusting to changes in her environment. To help ease her anxiety, my family and I made a few “smart” moves:
· Arranged for the principal of her new school to give us all a tour of the school during this past summer. My daughter had the chance to see layout of the school as well as visualize herself there soon.
· Pumped up her excitement about returning to school by making a special shopping trip where she had almost total control of selecting her fall ensembles. Obviously, we reserve the right to veto. :)
· We also encouraged her to select some cool school supplies some of which featured her current favorite themes and logos including Pokémon and Minecraft. I sure miss the days of My Little Ponies and LPS and suppose I’d better enjoy this current phase while it lasts.
· Ever popular is our incentive plan: she earns points that are redeemed for a prize each Friday. We’ve noticed that not all teachers have prize day but know that our daughter thrives on positive feedback and rewards. She earns points at home for putting her best effort into completing homework, picking up after herself (putting away her shoes and dishes), and helping with other chores (cleaning fish tank), etc.
Do these strategies help our daughter? Absolutely…though it’s not always a smooth process. Each parent needs to figure out what makes his or her child “tick”” and set the clock accordingly. Good luck and be sure to check out www.acetutoring.com for updates of helpful workshops and other academic information for families. Feel free to contact us at any time if you have specific questions you would like to ask about your child.