Starting a new school year
The start of a new school year brings with it so much anticipation, joy and anxiety. What will the new school year hold for my child? Will the teacher ‘get’ my child? Will they like school? Are any of these questions floating around in your heads?
Having been a Primary School teacher, for 19 years specialising in Early Years, I have seen my fair share of new school years. I am here to let you know that there are a few things you might want to consider doing to help the transition from Summer to new School year, especially if this is the first time your child is entering into the School or Nursery system.
Children thrive on routine, and over the Summer your routines may have taken on different forms, slipped or disappeared completely. It is now time to claw them back. There is no ‘perfect’ routine as all our lives and families are different but there are certain things you may wish to consider:
- What do you want your mornings to look like?
- Will you and your child have packed their bag, lunch, snack the night before?
- How will you ensure you leave the house on time?
- What are your expectations of your child once you have picked them up from school?
- What are your families rules around screens (TV, tablets, phones etc.)
- What time will your child go to bed?
There are lots of lovely books that can help you prepare your children for school, sometimes understanding how a story character deals with things such as separation, can aid your child to process what is going on for them. Pop along to your local book shop and see what they suggest. One book that has worked well in my home is; The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, a young racoon is going through separation anxiety and he discovers how a kiss can help.
Work with the teacher
Teachers want the children in their class to succeed, to do well, to make friends, to be the best they can be. However, educating a child is a partnership and to do this it is so much better if parent and teacher work together. IF there is an issue please do go in and discuss with the school. IF there is a change in routine, living arrangements, even if one of you is travelling for work, it is better for the school to know, as at times this can explain changes in your child and their behaviour.
Your child’s voice
It is so easy when we are busy to ignore your children’s voice, their thoughts, opinions and ideas. However, I have found that having a forum where your kids can be heard is of great benefit to everyone. Can you set up a weekly Family Meeting to talk about the positives of the week, look at the week ahead, celebrate achievements or small wins. This gives your child a forum in which to be heard.
An important note here is you listen to understand, you accept what your child has to say, you understand that it is their point of view or idea, but you don’t necessarily have to agree with it. You find a way forward together.
Our children want our time, especially in the early stages of a school year, as they transition to their new routine, try to resist the temptation to over crowd your child’s schedule with after school clubs and activities. Instead, play, colour, talk, dance, snuggle and watch tv, make dinner together, play games, show your child that you are present and there for them in mind, as well as body.
Success for the new school year comes in the planning, the forethought, communication and giving your family a voice in your home, you are a team after all.
Written by Anisa Lewis – Coach and Director of Parenting Success Yorkshire