Going Back to School--Part 1

Back to School ads started in the last week of July in my area! It seemed we had just started to relax for the summer, so that was a shock! However, going back to school can be a stressful time for some children.

Who will my teacher be? Will that kid that always bothers me be in my class? Will I be with my friends?

Kids need a lot of assurance that they can solve problems. But, they also need to know that you are on their side, and that the staff at school will help them. Most importantly, we as parents and teachers need to know that listening is the first step. It helps to repeat back to the child what they have said. That way, the child hears his or her own problem, and by hearing it, they may realize that they also have a solution. "Maybe I can try . . . "

We cannot move in too quickly and fix everything for our child. Just a simple idea planted in the child's head: "I heard that Ms. ... has interesting gym lessons, or is really good at  . . . " "I know that you are able to handle that person, and your teacher already knows that she has bothered you before. You can talk to her as soon as you notice a problem."

Writing down worries is also a good way to get those out. Then, have the child and you brainstorm all the ways that you can deal with these. Also, keep a running list going of all the good things about going back to school! Sometimes, we focus on the problems, but getting back to routines, reconnecting with friends, getting to play at recess, learning new things is a very comforting way of looking at going back to school. After all, each year truly is a new beginning.

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