Montefiore School Health Program ReleasePosted: Updated:
Lead by example:
o Maintain a positive attitude when talking about the new grade or school - highlight how exciting it is to meet new people and make new friends. Children can sense when their parent is anxious so remain upbeat and optimistic.
o Let your child know that being nervous is a normal feeling and reassure them they will feel more comfortable as time goes on. Share examples of how you felt during your first day at school or a new job and explain that these feelings can be overcome.
Preparation is key:
o Do walk-throughs: Visit the school campus ahead of time and arrange to meet the teacher. This will help to make your child familiar with the environment and more at ease with the new surroundings.
o Gradually transition kids to an earlier bed and wake-up time. Begin a week before school starts by moving everything in the routine back 15 minutes, for example move dinner to 6.30 p.m. instead of 6.45 p.m., bath time then happens earlier, as does reading and bedtime.
o Prepare your child for the shift in routine by involving them in the process; give them a sense of control over the routine, explaining how the evening is going to roll out.
o Do activities to prepare for the school day together - buy necessary items such as books, pens, lunchboxes etc. together and pack their backpack and make lunches together.
o For older kids who have a hectic schedule, create a diary of weekly commitments and a daily checklist to make sure the violin isn't left at home when the child has band practice.
o If possible, the first week back is a good time for parents and extended family to do the school drop-off and pick-up. This will help the child get into the routine with your support and help you identify any immediate concerns.
o For preschoolers, set up group play-dates with other children to help them prepare for their new shared environment.
o For pre-K and elementary kids, teach them how to introduce themselves to new people. Role play and practice saying "Hi, my name is Jane; what's yours?" Of course it's important to emphasize the difference between talking to peers and strangers.
o While many parents get the impression their teen wants to handle things on their own, it's important to know what's going on in your child's life and offer support and guidance. Get to know the parenting coordinator at school, register for email updates to be alerted about exams, college fairs, application deadlines and big sporting events. Sign up to receive the academic calendar and make sure you check in with your teen when an important date is approaching so you can offer assistance and let them know you're there for them.
o Let your child choose one after-school activity. They may want to join the cheerleading squad while you want them to join the math club. Provide support and guidance, with the final decision being the result of compromise and what makes most sense for your teen's schedule and level of commitment.
o High school can be the most trying time of all. With more intense academic pressures and a new peer group, it can take longer to adjust. However if you're still concerned about your teen's ability to cope with their new environment after the first month of school, seek out resources and assistance from the guidance counselor.
o Help middle and high school kids feel comfortable expressing their frustrations and stress, and work on a plan together to make their commitments more manageable.