Whether it is an admission to a new school or returning to a new grade, being back to school will always be accompanied by nervousness, anxiety, and also excitement (a not-so-rare combination).
It is very natural for a kid to experience nervousness, after all, they are entering a certain lifestyle after weeks and months of holidays. This is especially true after Covid-19, where children are back in the school environment after years. Therefore, apart from school supplies, reaching out for their anxieties and concerns is equally important for school preparations.
It is also clear that every child is not the same. They all start the school year with different mindsets, social concerns, and emotions. They have their individual goals.
How to Prepare for children returning to School
Here are some common things that you can do as a parent to prepare your child for returning to school.
Talk positively about school
If your children are not talking about the school prior to its start date, it doesn’t mean that they are not thinking about them. Mostly when children are nervous about a fact, they avoid talking about the topic. Start with leading conversations about positive aspects of being back at school. Hearing a positive perspective can ease children of fear of new beginnings.
Discuss and establish school routine
Discuss routines of school days. Talk about how much fun and productive it will be. Also, talk about behaviors and disciplines of school life.
Establish a routine followed during school days, before school starts. This includes sleeping schedules and morning routines.
Visit the school and the new classroom, especially if it’s a new school or your child is returning after a very long break. Walk around the school and talk about the fun facilities available. (Some schools might not allow parents to visit prior to the start date, but you can still drive around the school. See the building and playgrounds.)
Start practicing to groom and dress
Children get excited when it comes to dressing and grooming. But a long gap might have made them a little lazy. Practice grooming and getting dressed a week or two before school. Also, talk about the fun clothes they will get to wear at school and ensure to have the items ready, as promised.
Talk about school lunch
Talk about the delicious food they will get to carry to school every day. This helps children get excited and look forward to school.
Make a list of school supplies from school websites or as per the teacher’s list. Make an adventure to the stationery shop to buy all the back-to-school supplies. Children love to start school with something new.
Reduce the usage of electronic devices
Slowly wean your child off electronics (a little more each day) – During school breaks, children seem to be very attached to their electronic devices for various reasons such as playing games, using social media, and watching movies. It’s important for parents to detach their children from electronic devices a little before school opens by making them busy with some learning or extracurricular activities. A quick change can be difficult for children.
Include learning and reading daily
Include learning time in the day. There are so many great books for children to purchase or access online. There are also many fun learning activities that children can do. This prepares children for their academic progress.
Many parents neglect the need to prepare their children for getting back to school. It may sound simple and a normal step for parents, but not for children. Almost every child goes through sets of emotions when returning to school, and it’s important to be aware of them. Like adults need to have self-awareness, so do children.
Children may face anxiety and stress prior to school re-opening. Some symptoms to understand these anxieties are not having proper meals, sleeplessness, paying attention to very minor pains like a scratch, being restless and odd behaviors, isolating self from others or activities, etc.
Reach out to your children’s needs and prepare them for a new school year. This ensures they are looking forward to school and that they have a productive year.