As we approach another school year here at BCA we are getting ready for new families and new minds to mold. We, teachers, spend weeks preparing for our new students. Learning their names, rearranging our classrooms, looking for ways to warmly welcome students. We see many families come in and out of our academy and we’ve learned a couple of things about transitioning into school. So if this is you and your child’s first time in a school setting, or if you’re a veteran returning from summer break, here are 10 tips from a teacher to preparing your child for the school year.
- Voice your emotions.
In order for children to voice their thoughts, concerns, and emotions they need to see us do it. Tell them how and why you’re excited- “You’re going to learn so many new things!” Tell them what worries you- “I am going to miss you while you’re away.” Express your thoughts and give them the language to help them voice theirs.
- Read Scriptures
One of the best things we can do for our children is to let them know that a power greater and stronger than us takes care of them. Help build their security and trust in God by sharing with them scriptures that speak about his love, his plan for our life and his guidance.
- Tour the school before the first day.
Sometimes unfamiliarity brings insecurity. I am a complete extrovert but when I am in an unpredictable, foreign place, I become fearful. Call the school and ask if you can tour the campus. Show them where the bathroom is, where they will be sleeping, where they will have lunch and their all-time favorite- where the playground is!
- Have them be a part of the preparation.
Allowing children to have choices gives them a sense of pride and ownership. Although sometimes their way of doing things is unconventional it is helpful to their self-esteem. Have them choose their lunchbox, first day of school outfit, and breakfast option. When children arrive in something they picked out they can’t wait to share it with their peers. It gives them one more thing to be excited about.
- Go to bed on time the night before.
Adequate sleep is one of the simplest things we can do to help regulate our children’s emotions. If they are tired THEY WILL be cranky, and if they are cranky we are frustrated, and if we are frustrated, well there goes the excitement. Make sure you are putting them in their school routine at least a week before school starts. That way they aren’t fighting you to go to bed.
- Have a healthy and filling breakfast.
I cannot stress enough how important this is. Often times when a child is having a rough day I ask them what they had for breakfast. It gives me a good gauge into their morning. If they had sugary cereal, pancakes with syrup, or something similar I try to have even more grace on the child because they’re body is reacting to that. Help them start off on the right foot by giving them a balanced breakfast in the morning.
- Write a note to the teacher.
I have found that children are natural givers. They love to pick flowers and give it to you. If they pick out a present they can’t wait to see you open it. Children love to give. Have them write a note or buy a special something for their teacher. This gives them the opportunity to focus on something other than themselves and allows them to feel excited about presenting something.
- Let your teacher know important information about your child.
We love it when parents help us know their children better. We want this to be a wonderful experience for them and one of the ways we can do that is by knowing details about them. What do they like to do, how are they encouraged, what is their learning style. Do they have a favorite song, what are their weaknesses, do they have a delay we need to know about? We want to know how to best equip your child so please, tell us about them!
- Trust us.
We know handing your child off can be scary. We ourselves have to also do it. Trust that we will love and understand your child. One of the tools that help children be successful in school is a teacher/parent relationship founded on trust. Children feel when we are uneasy and when there is tension. Allow us to challenge them and to teach them. Working as partners we can work toward great strides for your child.
- Stay connected.
Parent participation is always welcomed and supported. If you are able to, join the involvement committee in your child school, attend as many events as possible, and have a continual dialogue with your child teacher. Try to be as involved as your schedule allows you.
At the end of the day, we must remember to pray. As much as starting a new school is a transition for them, it is also one for us. Whether they are starting in preschool, VPK, or elementary we have to face our fears. Trust that God loves your child more than you and pray for wisdom. With those hand in hand, we can offer our children peace and steadiness.
As parents meditate on the scriptures and show them to your children to help them cast their cares and anxiety on God.