There is no mistaking that if your kids aren’t headed back to school now, they will be soon – the stores are filled with supplies and sales and ads for back-to-school. The beginning of a new school year can be an especially challenging time for parents and children both, although for totally different reasons.
For parents, making sure that kids are equipped with the supplies and everything they need to get organized and have a good year is usually the first challenge. Then meeting the teachers, checking out the classrooms, and assessing the curriculum for the year is next on the list.
My children are actually feeling excitement in their preparation for their school first day experience. We go shopping together for supplies and backpacks. We make lists for the year:
• A list of their goals in education
• A list of their goals in sports
• A list of their dream vacation places and why they choose them
• A list of their NEW responsibilities this upcoming year: at home and at school – we discuss it not once during the list-making, rather we make a conversation subject of many of our talks with children
• A list of their supplies clothes for both school and sports that needs to be updated – making a child part of this process instils the values that clothes and shoes don’t grow on trees, but they need to be shopped for
• A list of any personal articles that they may want or need from their perspective – an excellent exercise to make a child think through and plan for their school life and afterschool curriculum
Depending on your child’s age and grade, you, as a parent, guide her or him through these list-making exercises and spread these activities throughout the summer time to allow them to think and make their decisions. It would be unfair to your child to ask of her or him to make all these lists one day before school. Even one week would be a short amount of time and would feel like a forceful demand on your part. Make this process kind and caring and supportive. The results would be so awesome to observe!
For kids, the stress of the new school year can be a little different than what we experience as parents. Did you know that one in five children in the U.S. have learning and attention issues, like ADHD and dyslexia? Children with these types of challenges – many of whom have never been formally diagnosed – can feel especially stressed during the back-to-school season as they face new subjects, teachers and schools.
As the new school year approaches, we were excited to get personalized tips from the First-Day Ready Guide to help our kids make a great start. The Ad Council and Understood.org have partnered to promote ways children and their families can be First-Day Ready. Understood.org is offering a FREE to help parents with students at every age successfully manage back-to-school transitions. Understood.org is a free, easy-to-use online resource and a community designed to support parents and caregivers of children with learning and attention issues.
Turning to online help can inspire you for new ways of doing your old school routines and give some incredible help in thinking through every age and grade level. Use it to your advantage!
The back-to-school tips from the Understood.org website are an invaluable resource for getting on track and starting the year from the right foot. They help my family, and a good chance is they will help yours, too.
- Planning early is important to help relieve stress. Creating structure and routine around the start of the new school year—with checklists, calendars and other organization systems— helps prepare kids for class expectations. There are so many different tools to use and explore like: Back-to-School Countdown Planner, Backpack Checklist, and a sample of Homework Contract.)
You can also take your child on a school tour to help ease fears by showing them how to find their classroom, nearby bathrooms, the cafeteria and other important places the first week of school. This can be a huge stress relief whether the child is new to the school or not. Just knowing where to go can help them feel more comfortable.
- Connecting with your child’s teacher early on benefits everyone and creates a great starting point for the new year. This will give you an opportunity to share your child’s needs or learning style while expressing your support for the teacher and the challenges he/she may be facing with a new classroom full of students. You will help create an atmosphere of cooperation while speaking up for your child and his or her challenges.
- Finally, get support! Many parents and students are going through the same experience. Understood.org and their Facebook page connect parents across the country to share information and learn from each other. You can also ask around your community and school to find other parents you can connect with.
No matter your child’s age or needs, this Back-to-School season can be a seamless transition and positive experience for both you and your children!
If you could use some help getting started on the right foot this school year, Understood.org is a great place to start.
All kids learn in different ways and at different paces. With the right support, all kids can thrive at school and in life.