The New School Year
The new school year is an exciting time for children; new beginnings, a new teacher, perhaps some new friends. However, it can also be a difficult time of year for many reasons. Children may be a bit nervous, wondering if their old friends will still be their friends or if they’ll be able to do the work at the next grade level. But other children have even more reason to feel nervous and afraid. They may be facing unresolved situations from the previous school year – a situation that hasn’t improved over the summer – such as bullying or struggling academically at school. As a parent, you can do a great deal to help support your child during this transitional time of year.
||Create a scrapbook for the coming school year. It could have pockets or be a simple booklet to paste in pictures and write ideas. Have them label the headings and talk about what they think might happen during the year. Some headings might be: My First Day, Great Field Trips, My Best Effort, Friends, Sports and Activities, Memorable Moments, My Teacher(s).
||As a parent with a child struggling in school, whether it be socially and/or academically, you may be hoping that a new year will suddenly change everything, but it rarely does. If your child has been bullied in the past school year, ask to meet with your child’s teacher, support personnel or administration to help develop an entry plan to help settle your child into school in the first month. Discuss what happened the previous year and ensure steps remain in place to deal with the bullying. Even if the previous year was highly successful check in with the school to ensure things are still in place.
||Have a conversation with your child a week or so before the first day of school. Ask them: what are 2 things they are looking forward to, 2 things they’re a bit nervous about, and 2 goals they want to set for themselves to help tackle their anxiety.
||Begin a new tradition at the start of September. Pick a time during the day – driving in the car or at dinner – to talk about the school day. Ask your child to talk about one thing they would keep from the day and one thing they’d throw away. Share your thoughts with your child as well, such as “Today I’d keep the great meeting where we got a lot accomplished but I’d throw away the argument I had with someone who cut me off in traffic. Next time I’d just smile and let them in.”