5 August 2008 09:25 AM

Back to School Time!

by Dr. Rick
Giving up the joys of summer and returning to school can create mixed feelings in kids. Sadness at ending the extra freedoms that summer brings. Anticipation at seeing friends again. Eagerness to set a new beginning. Anxiety at reaching new goals. Maybe some fear, especially if they’re going to a new school. And finally, challenges that come with change. Going back to school, after all, is all about change. A new year. New teachers. New friends mixed with the old. New routines. You remember, you were their age once.

Kids need our help now more than any other time of the school year.

Here are some tips to keep in mind as your children count the days before school opens for the fall. They are counting, you know, even if they don’t admit it.

1. Be positive. Show you care by having a positive attitude about the new school year. Talk about your school days, the happy memories (keep the bad ones to yourself, even if they’re now funny), the things you learned, the interests you developed, the friends you made, the teachers you remember fondly, the activities you participated in. You don’t want to make a lecture (or worse, a sermon) about it, so keep the conversation informal. Kids pick up on our moods, so keep it light. You want your child to have good attitudes about school, including her friends, teachers, extracurricular activities, goals for the year. This is yet another opportunity to show you care and are positive about the possibilities of the new year.

2. Set goals. With your child, set realistic goals for what you each want to accomplish this year. Goals should require a bit of a stretch to create a feeling of accomplishment. These goals can range from improved grades to making new friends, from trying out new after-school activities to making the soccer team. Encourage, support, and most important, listen.

3. Help prepare. If you’ve read any of my blogs, you know how much stock I put in preparation. When we’re prepared, we feel so much more confident than when we’re just winging it. So, give your child the confidence she needs by helping her prepare for this new adventure. If she’s going to a new school, visit it. Learn where the classrooms are, the bathrooms, the lockers, the cafeteria, and any other places where she’s heading. Get all the materials she’ll need for class. Review the school calendar with her and mark your own kitchen calendar – displayed where everyone can see it – with important dates like report cards, due-dates for projects, PTA meeting, and the like.

4. Help establish healthy routines. I’m also big on routines, especially for kids. They make youngsters feel secure and confident. Reset summer routines for fall ones. Cut way back on TV. Set meal times, study times, homework times, play times, quiet times, bedtimes, wake-up times. Show that you have routines, too, and stick to them. You’re a role model, remember.

Later this week, I’ll continue with more tips on preparing for back-to-school with your children…


Add comment


  • Comment
  • Preview

Blog Posting Rules

This blog is for the good of education - for students, for teachers and for parents. I very much value a two-way communication with you and welcome and encourage your comments and feedback. However, to facilitate a constructive conversation that is beneficial to everyone in this online community, I expect the same respect in your comments that I present in my blog.

Read the full Dr. Rick Blog Posting Rules.