Back-to-school time is always accompanied by a certain amount of nervous excitement and anxiety. As a parent, you can minimize fear of the unknown by being positive about school.
Whether your child is starting a new school or returning to their old one, here are eight things you can do to prepare for school reopening:
1. Re-establish a routine: Early to bed, early to rise
It will take a while to get back into a school sleep schedule. Before school starts, get your child into the habit of going to bed earlier, ideally before 9pm. Gentle winding-down activities such as bath time and reading before bed can help your child relax.
If your kids are starting at a new school, practice walking or driving to the bus stop or to the school a week or two before school starts. You could even play in the school playground before school starts. This creates fun memories associated with the school before the holiday ends.
2. Share positive stories about starting school
Read from story books, share your own positive experiences, let your child meet and hear about positive experiences from others. There are many books and ebooks in NLB you can borrow form.
3. Involve your child in preparing for school
Children who play an active role in preparing for back to school – such as choosing and organizing school supplies and clothes – are more likely to get excited about going back to school, which in turn eases their jitters. You can go for back-to-school shopping with your child for school supplies and a school bag together.
4. Talk about School, Teachers, and Friends
Discuss with your child what to expect at school, describing the teachers, their friends, and school activities. For new students, you can show your child our school website or Instagram. This will familiarize them with the environment and lessen their anxiety. You can also pack a transition object for your young child, like his/her soft toy or a family photo. This will provide a sense of familiarity, stability, and security to your child.
5. Collaborate with the School
A strong partnership between home and school is important for your child's transition and learning. The school can provide better support when you share information to help them understand your child better. Our teachers are more than happy to speak with you and provide updates about school activities.
6. Limit Screen Time
Back to school is the perfect opportunity to re-establish screen time limits. Why not have the whole family "unplug" in the evenings before bedtime? Choose a spot where everyone can charge their devices overnight. Use an alarm clock instead of a cellphone to wake up in the morning.
7. Talk about first-week jitters
Reassure your child that being nervous is natural – even for teachers. You can help your child cope with these feelings by letting them express their fears. Teach them to breathe deeply and slowly to calm their nerves. Discuss the scenarios that worry them. For example, if they're worried about whom to sit with or talk to on the first day, help them plan a strategy and rehearse it so they'll know what to do.
8. Celebrate the Start of a New School Year
If you celebrate the first day of school, your kids will see back-to-school as a transition they can really enjoy. Try a back-to-school party the day before school starts, complete with cake, balloons, and educational gifts. And don't forget to take a picture on the front step in their first-day-of-school outfits. It's going to be a great year!
Remember, it's normal to feel a mix of excitement and nervousness. Trust the teachers and look forward to the learning and growth that awaits. You are going to meet new friends and learn new things. Enjoy every moment, have fun and be yourself. Happy first day of school!