Tips from the Teacher: Are you and your child ready for school?
You are a school prep organizer aficionado. . . backpacks are full of pencils, erasers, paper, notebooks and that ever-important box of Kleenex. New lunch boxes are adorned with each child’s name. The first-day clothes are hanging in closets with pristine shoes and socks close by. All is ready for the first day of school. Or is it?
Now this is not to say that you haven’t been working hard getting things organized for your kiddos, but is that all you need to do? Think back to your experiences of September and the first day of school. What weighed heavy on your mind the night before school started?
For children, school is the equivalent of an adult’s job. It is their “9 to 5.” Often we parents don’t understand the pressures our children are under when it comes to the job they do in school. School is filled with pressures – things to remember, work to do, and peers to get along with. All of these things have challenges attached to them and can cause stress and worry.
Did they get the teacher they hoped for? Is their best friend in their classroom? Are most of their friends in another class? Will they have a nice bus driver? Where will they sit at lunchtime? Will children play with them at recess? What if their teacher is mean? What if the schoolwork is too hard? What if this is the year they just can’t do the work?
Take time to talk with your children before the start of school. Let them know that you will be there to guide them through any concerns or worries that they have. Share with your child some of your childhood worries with starting a new grade. We parents need to let our children know that we understand their worries and have had some of our own too! It helps for our children to hear how we worked through situations that didn’t come easy for us. You will be surprised with your child’s openness in sharing thoughts and worries with you.
Time is the singularly most important gift we can give our child. That present moment showing you are the most important person to me. I am here for “you time”. Start this new school year with a special time each day – just you and your child – listening and hearing the thoughts and worries that are ever present as your child works hard doing his/her job.
Set the stage now for that first day talk – “How was school today?” No matter how well that first day goes, your child will know that you are there to listen and work to understand his/her thoughts and worries, that all things are doable. You will get a discussion, not an “OK”. Give your child the “you time” each day — It is what each child needs so much more that the coolest backpack filled with the best school supplies ever.
– By Julie Hehn
Julia Hehn, an Edmonds mom of 32 – yes, you read that correctly 32 children (only 12 live at home now). She works as a Washington Virtual Academy Special Education Teacher and has taught grades K through 8th. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org