Starting a New School Year: 5 Tips for Parents & Guardians
Starting a new school year can spark a variety of emotions - excitement, anxiety, eagerness, nervousness, and more. Whether your child is starting at a different school or returning to the same school, there are always new unknowns come August. Below are five tips for parents/guardians to keep in mind as the 2022-23 school year begins.
- Kids can pick up on signals from adults. Particularly during times of uncertainty, kids are watching the adults close to them for signals about how to act and feel. If you are excited and enthusiastic about the start of school - even about the unknowns - it is likely those feelings will rub off on them. Also, sharing your own moments of anxiety and how you moved through them can help kids feel more confident they can, too. It’s a balance between validating their emotions and modeling a different perspective.
- The first week of school is exhausting. After several months of summer, it can be tiring to return to a full schedule that requires kids’ brains to work in different ways. It’s a monumental shift, with interactions with new people and constant transitions throughout the day. For Kindergartners especially, a full day of school can be mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting. Be prepared for your child to be tired, grumpy, and more emotional, and even express a desire to stay home. Check in with them to investigate the root of the issue, and keep in mind that the overwhelming nature of the start of school could be at play.
- Embrace a healthy dose of conflict. It is tempting, as adults, to remove kids from conflict whenever it arises, and for kids to be happy and comfortable all of the time. But without conflict, kids won’t learn how to resolve problems constructively or independently. School is designed as a safe environment in which kids can both be on the receiving end of another child’s mistake and to make mistakes of their own. Through these experiences, they come to understand empathy and how to use their words to help themselves and others, how to express how they feel, ask for what they need, and apologize honestly.
- Feed the family-school partnership. As a parent/guardian, you know your child best. And, teachers have a deep understanding of developmental growth. The relationship between the school and parents/guardians is essential to supporting the child in the best way possible. It is founded on open communication and trust throughout the year. Work with your child’s school so all parties are on the same page.
Be part of the community (in a way that fits your life). As a parent/guardian, you are part of our entire school community. Reach out, volunteer, and get to know your fellow community members, however that feels right for you. Come to morning assembly, attend parent/guardian coffees, and introduce yourself to new people. There are myriad ways to get involved, both large and small, particularly through the Family Association.