By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki
Whether you have already returned to school or that fateful First Day is coming soon, back-to-school can be an extremely stressful time for both parents and kids. It doesn’t seem to matter if your children are going into 1st grade or 12th — having to wake up early and juggle homework, school activities, social events and sometimes jobs … buying school supplies and paying fees … hitting Back-to-School Nights and helping kids organize … the start of a new school year is always a daunting challenge!
How you navigate this transition can make a huge difference in how the entire year goes for your child. Why stumble along hoping for the best when you can be proactive and give you child tools for success from the get-go?
On the last night of summer, we here at Curriki suggest you hold a family dinner to celebrate the end of summer and look ahead to the vast potential of the upcoming year. Make pizza together, and then go around the table sharing what you hope to achieve this school year – make the basketball team, get all As, make new friends, try out for the school play, or perhaps (parents) get involved the PTA! If you visualize it, you’re already on your way to achieving it!
Curriki is delighted to provide all kinds of resources in the classroom or at home, but we wanted to make sure children walk into the classroom rejuvenated from summer and ready to learn. So here are a few resources to help keep parents and kids adjust to the transition and thrive in the months ahead:
Tips for Kids and Parents
- Care.com has a list of 101 Back-to-School Tips for Kids and Parents to help you and your children start the new school year right. Here are a few:
- Carve out some fun time with kids before the school year ramps up
- Start reading habits a couple weeks before the new year
- Start going to bed earlier and setting alarms to wake up earlier a week or so before
- Figure out an organizational system before you walk back in the school door
- Create an after-school schedule that allows time for snack, relaxation, play and study.
The list also includes tips for making the year go smoothly, including:
- Create a family calendar that tracks everyone’s activities and commitments.
Teach your kids to prioritize their assignments by making to-do lists with deadlines.
- Give your kids a short break after each assignment they finish.
- Arrange playdates with two or three of your kids’ friends to rebuild existing social ties.
Read the rest of the list here.
PBS.org’s list of teacher-approved strategies for easing the anxiety of the back-to-school transition include:
- If it’s a new school, tour the school in advance if possible.
- Make an effort to attend Back-to-School Night to meet their children’s teachers.
- Refresh kids’ friendships in advance by scheduling a play date or a school carpool.
- Find more tips from PBS.org.
Special Needs Strategies
Every special needs child is different and has unique needs and challenges. With sensory issues, difficulty with emotional regulation, the need for routine, problems adjusting to change, intellectual or communications issues, you’ll want to make some extra efforts to make daunting the transition easier, including:
- If attending a new school, try to schedule a visit before the first day. Meet the principal, counselors and teachers if possible.
- Discuss and plan the changes in your child’s daily routine that will happen once school starts.
- Talk to your child about exciting new classes, activities and events that they can participate in.
- Review your child’s current IEP, and with older students, explain the services and accommodations it includes.
- Set up a system to keep track of your child’s special education documentation (You’ll find some ideas here)
- Start a communication log to keep track of phone calls, emails, notes home and more.
You’ll find scores of other ideas for helping special needs students adjust to the new school year from these resources:
I’d love to hear your strategies on how you helped your child adjust to the transition from summer to the new school year. Please post your comments here on the Curriki blog!
Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience, and academic direction. Learn more at Curriki.org.