As everyone prepares to head "back to school", some for the very first time, we thought we would take this opportunity to offer a few tips to help ensure a smooth transition. Whether you are a new family, or a currently family, hopefully these suggestion will help provide some guidance. We can't wait for the new year to start. It's going to be an amazing one!
Talk positive about school.
We recommend employing phrases like: “You get to go to school tomorrow!” Often, the idea of “going to school" can be subjected to negative connotations in our society. As adults, the same thing could be said for, "going to work". To combat this cultural orientation, and to foster a positive appreciation of school, you can use favorable expressions like, "Next week, you get to go to school!”.
We recommend a quick drop-off and pick-up.
While it can be difficult, we strongly recommend a quick drop-off. We know it can be the hardest thing in the world, but the longer a parent stays, the harder the separation becomes. Lingering can create anxiety for both children and adults alike, and this is never a good start to a day. Instead, children relish the reassurance that you have confidence in them and their day.
Relate your own childhood experiences.
There’s nothing more reassuring for children than to hear from their parents or loved ones that “everything is going to be okay”. When children have something to relate to, from someone they trust, they can feel more assertive and confident in their new experience. A possible phrase to use would be: “I loved school. I was always so excited to go to school and meet new friends and learn new things.”
One of the most important things for children is consistency. They thrive off of the routine, as it offers them stability and confidence, a sense of strength in their relationship to the world. Try to establish a routine that works for your family, which includes lunch preparation, bedtime, wake-up time, morning departure for school, etc. The more consistent the routine, the less deviation children experience. Of course, there are always hiccups, but consistency will help to alleviate them.
Ensure that you keep your child apace of any changes to their daily activities. If there is a change in their routine, let them know by explaining the situation and providing reassurance. "Your mother will pick you up today." If children are apprised of what will happen, they will be less startled or surprised when the routine is interrupted. This will provide comfort and a better ease of transitions. It will also allow them to focus on the task at hand. In this case, exploring Europe!
Let your child help you prepare for the next day. Whether it's letting them set out their clothes for the morning, or allowing them to assist with the preparation of their lunch box, children love the responsibilities they are given - and, it helps builds their independence. Preparation also plays an essential role in the classroom, as children not only prepare work for other students upon completion, but also ready themselves for new tasks by going through the necessary process. Above, you'll notice that our student is cleaning the paint brush and tray, making sure that when she returns it to the shelf, it'll be just as she found it.
One of our strongest suggestions is to ensure that you arrive to school in a timely fashion. This is not for the convenience of the school, but for the benefit of your child. Late arrivals can interrupt routines and disrupt the classroom that's already in-progress. It can also create a sense of unease and apprehension for your child. As adults, we all know what it feels like when we enter a meeting that’s already started: we feel disoriented, anxious, and constantly struggle to try to catch up. We continually ask ourselves, “What did we miss?”. Additionally, for those who were interrupted, it can be difficult to return to that state of concentration.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out. We're always here to help.