Preparing for a new school year
School starts in about a month in many locations around the country. Parents wishing to give their child a good start may want to begin thinking about some of the more important elements of education in their child’s life.
• Discussing education in a very positive and enthusiastic way rather than reflecting on the end of the summer with dread creates a positive mindset for the child. Reminding the child that they will be seeing friends not seen for several weeks, resuming activities not available during the summer and embarking on new challenges.
• The first day of school can be a day of stress. If the child is entering school for the first time, separation anxiety may require extra time on the part of the parent to make the transition smoother. Talk to the child in a relaxed manner about the importance of the day, then send your child to school properly dressed, well-rested and feeling well physically.
• If your child has been retained and is reluctant to return to school because he feels like a failure or because his friends from the former year will be in a different class, discuss this matter with him freely. Emphasize that he/she is not a failure, that he/she may need extra time to build a solid foundation for future educational experiences.
• Build good communication skills with your child, his teacher and other school personnel. Show an active interest in his work. Keep family discussions about knowledge and school at a positive level.
• Set priorities for home study. Have a place available for the child to concentrate and work. Encourage the child to set aside a definite time for study each day.
• If your child is school resistant, you may need to talk with school or health officials to determine if the root cause is more than attitude and apathy. The child’s doctor should be consulted and a psychological or educational evaluation may be necessary to determine if there are learning disabilities. Working with the child on an individual basis often will correct the problem. Special classes are also available within the school.
Increasing the likelihood of a successful school experience for children increases with proper preparation and positive attitude on the part of the child’s parents.
Harold H. LeCrone, Jr., Ph.D. Copyright 2000