A new school year can be a very intimidating experience for children and parents – a long shopping list of items to purchase, readjusting to school routine, and perhaps a completely new school.
On top of that, there is usually an increased study load and the anxiety that comes along with higher academic expectations.
Preparation can reduce anxiety
Taking control this year with some preparation will make life easier – by anticipating and planning for this year’s challenges, both you and your child will find the school year much more enjoyable.
Here are few simple yet important things you can do in 2014 to ensure that you and your children come out on top:
Help your child build his or her confidence by talking about what school will be like.
- If your child is attending school for the first time, borrow library books with positive stories about starting school.
- Talk about happy memories you have from school.
- Encourage positive thinking. Encourage your children to tell you the good things that have happened during the day – this helps them not to dwell on negatives.
- Keep the support line open. Make sure your children know you there for them if they have any problems.
Don’t avoid the subject – help them adjust by talking about school and encouraging your child to be independent.
Create a schedule
The idea of a schedule may sound restrictive – especially for children – but there is no doubt routine will help them get things done. This in turn reduces the stress that arises from unfinished homework, forgotten assignments and missed study sessions.
- Set times for bed, breakfast, and when to study.
- Make sure you know what is on the school calendar and make a note of the important dates – term dates, excursions, camps, sports carnivals and NAPLAN dates.
- Make sure the calendar is visible and used every day.
Get your child involved
Adults feel in control, and less anxious, when they are involved – and children do too.
- Get your child involved by taking them shopping for what they will need for the new school year – their uniform, school bag and lunch box, for example. This can help create excitement for the new school year.
- Before school starts, organise playtimes with other children who will be attending the same school. Already knowing some of the children there will make your son or daughter feel a lot more comfortable, especially if they are starting primary school.
Talk to the teacher
Children won’t always tell their parents when they are struggling – due to embarrassment, frustration, or because they don’t know how to communicate their feelings. However, teachers are good at identifying when children are struggling – and they can often tell within a few weeks. Benefit from their insight by meeting with them earlier rather than later.
Act on areas of concern
If you notice something concerning, act on it. Teachers today are often overworked, and even with the best of intentions may not have the time and resources to devote to your child. The sooner you address the difficulty, the easier it’ll be to boost your child’s confidence and learning ability.