All kids, no matter their age, will experience first-day school jitters. Whether your child is anxious or excited about going back to school, it’s important to get their minds focused on a new school year. Orientation, meeting teachers and classmates, and buying new clothes and school supplies is part of the adventure.
Joshua Karczewski, Marketing Analyst at America’s Car-Mart, and his wife Janie, preschool teacher aide, recently shared how they have prepped their four children for school over the years. Overall, they say sending your children prepared for what to expect during their school day will ease their fears and lower the chances for meltdowns.
Check out their 7 tips so you and your children are ready for school:
- Participate in orientation opportunities
Tour the school, explore the library and playground, meet the teachers and maybe even meet classmates. Meeting teachers can help ease fear for both kids and parents.
If no scheduled activity, see if you can at least go visit the school and let your child know the location of his/her classroom, including cafeteria, restrooms and lockers. This will then be familiar territory on the first day of school.
- Meet the teacher in advance
“Kids look to their parents to know who to trust. They will watch your reactions to the new teachers and classroom. If you are impressed, they will be, also,” says Josh, while adding it’s especially important for kindergartners to meet their teachers and see the new things they will get to enjoy every day at school.
- Let your child interact with fellow classmates prior to the first day of school
Let them get familiar with each other. Find a buddy.
- Find books to read that are on your child’s grade level
Read together so they get used to ‘studying’ and focusing. Have a family reading hour every few days. Reading books and challenging your children with math at their grade level is a fantastic way to keep them engaged so they can be confident when school starts, Josh suggests.
- Have a conversation about school with your child
Let them ask questions, put their minds at ease. Share your own happy stories about things you loved about school.“Tell them about your favorite teacher, the class you looked forward to and even the class you didn’t care for.
Also, remind your kids they don’t have to be perfect at everything,” Josh says. “It’s okay to ask for help – that’s what the teachers are there for.”
- Shop early for the items on your child’s school list
Make a list of everything you need and have fun shopping together. Let your kids help you and let them select what they like in supplies and clothes. “When they get to select their favorite color notebooks and folders with awesome pictures, then they’ll be excited to use them and take better care of them,” says Josh. “Plus, it gives them a role of responsibility and desire to take care of their belongings.” Also, check out our blog to learn ‘5 tips for saving on back-to-school supplies.’
- Get some rest
Prepare now for those earlier nights and mornings. Conduct some trial runs for going to bed and getting up in the morning. “A good night’s rest is important to the health and wellbeing of everyone, so make sure your children have a sufficient amount of sleep,” says WHO. “A new school year can be scary, but it’s really an adventure with new friends and responsibilities,” concludes Josh. “These years are what helps mold their minds into what they will grow up to be.”
“A new school year can be scary, but it’s really an adventure with new friends and responsibilities,” concludes Josh. “These years are what helps mold their minds into what they will grow up to be.”