To help children get ready for the new school year and to minimize academic stress, try these tips and ideas to make students' transition years—kindergarten, first grade, middle school, or high school—more seamless.
Visit the school. If your child is changing schools with the new year, make a special trip together to visit the school before the first day of classes. Checking out the new classroom and the new teacher before school starts will help ease feelings of anxiety and help get your child into his academic routine. If it’s available, review the class schedule with your child and prepare him for the new grade.
Discuss changes in routine. Talk with your child about how the routine for her new school may differ from the previous year. It can be difficult for children to adjust to changes in schedules and workloads. Explain how her schedule may differ from last year. Will there be more homework assignments? Does she have to wake up earlier? Will she have more than one teacher?
Provide extra support. When starting the new school year, especially if it’s a transition year, a little extra support can’t hurt. Talk with your child about her fears regarding school and maintain an open dialogue throughout the year. Discuss what subjects she’s anticipating and any areas she finds particularly challenging. Don’t forget to talk about homework and tests.
Transition into kindergarten. Kindergarten is your child’s introduction to elementary school and a first opportunity to learn basic math and reading skills, not to mention a first look at routines and expectations of group learning. As a parent, you are your child's first teacher. The skills that he learns from you—how to get along with others, follow directions, and listen to directions—will help him start the year off right.
Transition into middle school and high school. Transitioning from elementary to middle school and from middle school to high school brings many questions and concerns. Organization becomes even more important in middle school and high school, when your child must keep track of multiple subjects, homework, teachers, classrooms, and books. You can help him to reduce stress by giving him a calendar/planner to help organize these new items and encouraging him to build good study habits.
For more educational resources for children in grades pre-K through 12, please visit www.SylvanLearning.com.
Written by: Hillary Malone, Sylvan Learning of West Michigan