- Published on Friday, 03 August 2012 08:08
Guest post submitted by Kathy Butler, abcteach Staff
The summer will soon be drawing to a close and once again, the school bells will ring. As a parent and teacher, I am all too familiar with the challenges we face when transitioning our children back to school. Below are some thoughts and ideas on how we can help build their enthusiasm as they begin the new school year.Build Anticipation and Excitement:
Allow your child to participate and help choose back-to-school clothing and supplies. It’s a lot more fun when supplies are personalized, too. Let them choose decals or their initials for items such as lunch boxes, notebooks, etc.
Once you find out who your child’s classmates will be, plan a playdate or other activity that includes old and new friends. It’s exciting when, on the first day, your child has friends in his or her class.
Make a card or draw a picture for the new teacher. Your child can draw something he or she enjoyed doing this summer and write a sentence or two about it. The teacher will be thrilled!
Discuss what after-school and extracurricular activities your children would enjoy. This will give them something to look forward to when school is over. This will also allow them to meet new friends with whom they have something in common.
Comfort Level and Reduction of Stress:
If your child’s school is new to him or her, visit the building and teacher before the first day to ease any anxiety. If your child walks to school, have him arrange to always walk with a friend and have them practice walking the route beforehand.
Get organized! Having a place for everything can alleviate stress for both you and your child. The following suggestions will also let children know that learning is important and that they are being held accountable.
■ Help your child establish a special place of his own to read or do homework. It may be in his bedroom or another cozy place. Let your child decorate it to make it his own. Book shelves, a desk, a comfy chair, floor pillows, a good source of light, or a bulletin board are all possibilities to help make this space cozy and functional. Be clear that the purpose of this place is to read, relax and learn; games and televisions don’t belong here.
■ Establish routines so your children know what is expected of them. Always keep book bags, books, homework and other important school papers in the same place. Let children know when they are expected to do their homework each day.
■ Help your child create a calendar of the important activities and dates during the school year. Help your child use the calendar throughout the year to keep track of events, deadlines, etc. This can be posted on the refrigerator or on the bulletin board in their special place. Just make sure it is ALWAYS posted in the same place!
Set realistic, short-term goals for your children. Children are much more excited about learning if they believe they can be successful. Let them know you don’t expect them to earn all A’s if they struggle with grades. A short-term goal might be to raise their score on a spelling test or the next math quiz. Identify the goals together. Children will be more inclined to work toward the goal if they have helped choose it. Small steps. Providing small rewards for success can be a great motivator as well; maybe a trip to get ice cream or staying up late on the weekend.
Finally, let your child know you value education, and more importantly, that you value him/her! Enjoy the start of a happy and productive school year.