For many families, the countdown to the first day of school has entered the single digits, with school beginning this week or next week. Whether your child is returning to school as a kindergartener or first grader who attended school last year or whether your child is beginning school this year for the first time, my latest worksheet will provide a fun and easy way for you to help your child shake off the first day jitters and start school with confidence and ease.
Begin by showing your child the colorful classroom scene. Let your child spend a few moments just observing the picture, as it contains many small details in addition to the larger pictures of children and a teacher. Once your child is comfortable with the picture, you can use the second page of activity prompts to help your child practice some important school readiness skills including strong listening skills and visual discrimination skills.
Also, read through the suggested list of “conversation starters” and use the colorful classroom scene as a vehicle to talk with your child about starting school and the variety of emotions that may accompany that exciting day. Perhaps your child is nervous about starting a new school or excited about seeing his old friends. Either way, the colorful classroom scene will help your child focus his energy and attention and lead to productive conversations.
Also consider these simple tips for helping your child start school in a relaxed and stress-free way:
- Make sure your child gets enough sleep. Begin adjusting the nighttime routine several weeks before school starts to ensure that your child is bright-eyed when he wakes up in the morning.
- Plan school clothes the night before. Let your child set out what he plans to wear to school at night before he goes to sleep. This is ensure that he has the clothes he needs and will eliminate wasted time and energy in the morning.
- Pack up the backpack the night before. Program 5 - 10 minutes into the bedtime routine for your child to prepare his backpack for the next day. He will be sure he has the necessary items (including any homework) and can relax and sleep well knowing that he is ready to go.
- Limit breakfast choices on school days. Get into the habit of offering just a few simple choices for breakfast. Your child will become accustomed to choosing from your list and there will be no stress about making a decision. Also, easy to fix menu items (cereal, toaster waffles, etc.) make more sense on a school morning when time is limited. Save the elaborate breakfast menus for special weekend treats.
- Know the “getting to school” routine the night before. Will your child be getting a ride (and who will be driving?), walking to school (alone or with a friend?) or taking the bus? Know the exact time for leaving so you and your child can be ready.
- Establish the “after school” routine the night before. Making decisions about where your child will go and what he will be doing after school and coordinating those plans may take a bit of time and advanced preparation. School mornings are hectic enough without the stress of figuring out the “after school” plans, as well. Also, children can often relax and sleep better when they know how their next day will go.
- Start your day 10 minutes before you really need to. Rarely do mornings go exactly as planned, so adding a few extra minutes into the routine will eliminate unnecessary stress.
I wish you and your children a smooth start to the school year!