Guest blog written by Lindsey Schaibly
The first day of school can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’re the new kid in school. Here are some simple tips to help your kids prepare for their first day.
Meet the Teachers
Check if the new school offers an open house or a “Meet the Teacher” night to allow your child time to tour the building, meet his or her new teachers, and become acquainted with future classmates. If not, schedule a time with the teacher(s) to introduce your child and to tour the building. A few familiar faces and knowing where to go will make the first days much easier for your child.
If you are able to meet with the teachers, get an idea of the upcoming year’s curriculum and how it aligns with your child’s previous education. Being aware of any educational gaps can assist you with helping your child, if necessary, with upcoming schoolwork. You could even ask for an overview of your child’s current curriculum to have a better idea of where s/he places in terms of classes or levels. If your child has special needs, find out what services are available and hold those discussions prior to the new school year.
Be sure to check with the main office that you have competed all of the required paperwork and have all necessary medical forms, immunization records, etc. Ensuring your child’s first day will be free of trips to the office and confusing questions will make the first day much less stressful.
Do a Practice Run
There is nothing worse than feeling lost in a new place. Before school starts, allow your child a trial run of a school day. Practice walking to the bus stop, walking the route, or driving to school. Then rehearse navigating the building while stopping to find important places, such as the main office and restrooms. Visit every classroom your child will be moving to throughout the school day: library, music room, gymnasium, etc. Covering all of the bases will make both your child and you feel more at ease on the first day.
Meet New Friends
Future friends can be found in the neighborhood, summer camps, playgrounds, and even the local library. See if it’s possible for a teacher to recommend a student to be your child’s buddy for the day and to show him/her around the new school. Your child could even shadow another child to get a better feeling for the school day. Having at least one friend right away will prevent your child from feeling alone in the new environment.
Arrange Play Dates
Another idea is to arrange play dates for your child with nearby families or children from school. Your child may feel more comfortable hosting the first play date and inviting a small group of friends to the new home. When visiting other homes, be sure to accompany your child to the first play date and be clear with any questions or expectations you have for the parent(s) who may be supervising your child. If play dates continue, research additional ideas for successful play dates and how to approach difficult situations if they arise. The most important rule to remember is your child’s comfort with the arrangements.
Offer New School Supplies
Another way to make starting a new school more exciting is allowing your child to select new school supplies. Contact the teacher(s) for a supplies list, and ask your child to decide what types of supplies, what color backpack, and the type of lunch sack s/he would like to take to school. If your child is more comfortable with the backpack from last year, allow that since it may provide a sense of comfort in the new place.
Moving brings significant adjustments for every member of the family, but having to simultaneously change schools and grades is a lot for children to endure. Remember to remain patient if your child struggles with the transitions and be supportive of any hesitant feelings. Your child may surprise you and easily adjust to the new environment. However, if necessary, seek help from a professional if you feel the struggles are too difficult for you to handle on your own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lindsey Schaibly is the training and development specialist at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®/INTERNATIONAL, Inc. Even though she now works with adults, she is a pro when it comes to working with kids. Prior to working at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® / INTERNATIONAL, Inc. she received her Bachelor’s degree in Education and her Master’s degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, K-12. She then went on to be a middle and high school English teacher for six years. She is also a loving wife to her husband, Nick, and caring mother to their one-year-old daughter, Ryan. It’s an exciting time in the Schaibly household as they wait to welcome a little boy to their family in October!
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