Back to School Tips for Parents
By Pauline O’Keeffe
Forgetting one’s lunch or not being able to find the bathroom in time can be quite traumatic for preschoolers and can lead to temper tantrums and stomachaches. However, parents can set the tone for a successful transition into a new classroom by addressing their children’s concerns and actively participating in school activities.
Here is a checklist of activities that parents can do at home to help children quickly adjust to the new school year.
· Set Your Alarm Clock. Early to Bed, Early to Rise - Have your child start going to bed at his school-night bedtime by reading him a book a little earlier every night for a week. Set an alarm clock for the correct wake-up time in his room and show him the button to push for the alarm.
· Select Outfits Before Bedtime - Have your child help select outfits on Sunday night for the entire week. Knowing what she will be wearing during the week will help her start off the morning on a calm, predictable note. After the first couple weeks of school, have her pick out an outfit for the next day the night before, with no exceptions.
· Pack the Night Before – At an early age children fear forgetting their books, school supplies, and other things they need for school. Make sure you establish a routine that requires your child to pack his book bag every night before he goes to bed. This ensures that he will not have to rush in the morning trying to locate stray items.
· For New Students: Write a Letter to the Teacher – It’s not unusual for a parent to hear questions like “How will my teacher know I don’t like to eat spinach?” or “Will my teacher know that I like playing with blocks?” It can be very helpful to have your child express these jitters by dictating a letter to his new teacher introducing herself and addressing any questions she has. Include facts such as games she enjoys playing, favorite foods, and best friends. Encourage your child to list goals for the year, such as learning how to count to 10 or learning the alphabet.
Pauline O’Keeffe is Vice President of Corporate Communication for Excelligence Learning Corporation in Monterey, CA.