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Thursday, 30 August 2012

Six Strategies for Making the Start of School Less Stressful: back to school 2

The beginning of the school year is an exciting time, but for many children and getting back into the swing of things can be difficult. Becoming familiar with new classrooms, classmates, rules, and teachers can be a difficult transition. Below are ideas for starting the new school year well.

1. Return to a School Sleep Schedule - Help children make the transition easier by getting them ready physically for early mornings. A gradual change is often more difficult than an immediate change. The first few days of getting up early and going to bed early may be difficult, but this will be helpful in the long run. Make getting up in the mornings easier by doing fun activities such as going on a walk, making breakfast together, or taking an early bicycle ride.

2. Introduce a New Environment or Re-Introduce a Familiar One: Six weeks go by quickly, but children often forget many important things about school. Make a book with your child to remind them of their classmates’ names, teachers’ names, school layout (dining hall, art room, music room, etc.), bus rules, classroom rules, and school rules. Children can help by drawing pictures or writing the text. For children starting a new classroom or school, hopefully the teacher will send information home that can be used to write a book.

3. Take Opportunities to walk past the School and point out key areas such as the bus stop, hall, playground,and sportsfield (anything you can see).

4. Involve children in preparation - Shopping for a book bag, new shoes, pencil case, and other school necessities can be a fun activity for many families. Help your child write a list of items they need for school. Take the list to the shops and let them pick out their own equipment. The list is a great way to practice reading and writing as well as planning. Give older children a budget to practice their numeracy skills and to learn about decision making and shopping.

5. Plan Ahead - Parents have many things to remember before the school year starts. Make a list and check things off so your stress does not become your child’s stress. Organising medical appointments, buying school equipment and working out the bus schedule in advance will make the days leading up to school more relaxed and less hectic.

6. Create Summer souvenirs – The end of summer can be very sad for many children. To remind them of the summer, get children to create a collage of pictures, objects (e.g. ticket stubs or magazine advertisements of films or places they attended), or drawings. They also can make something for people they will miss. Get them to write letters or make cards for people they will not see regularly during the school year such as relatives and friends from different areas.