What goes on during your child’s day in school? Massive confusion, that's what. Each time your child switches classes, it might feel like stepping into another country. Each teacher has different rules, expectations, and customs. How am I supposed to behave in class? Do I raise my hand to go to the bathroom, or do I just go? Am I going to be penalized for handing in an assignment late? Can I call out an answer, or do I need to raise my hand? Can I eat in class? Imagine how much more overwhelming this is, for students with executive functioning and organizational issues. Below are a few pointers for parents and teachers that may help a child to ease back-to-school anxiety and navigate the academic jungle.
- Visit the school with your child before the start of the school year, walk around, find the restrooms and other important places. Let your child check out the playground and play.
- Stomach butterflies can be anxiety or excitement. Help your child articulate what the child is feeling by asking open-ended questions: How will this year be different? What piqued your curiosity? What have you heard about your grade? What excites you about going back to school? What scares you about going back to school?
- Nobody knows your child better then you. You know how much information to provide. Some children need to know exactly what to expect and don’t like (and this is putting mildly) the unknown. Some children just need the bare bones and like to figure it out by themselves.
- According to the current research there are positive correlations between physical activity and learning and achievement. Encourage some form of physical activity before school. This gets the blood pumping and aids concentration in classroom.
- To make life easier for your child and yourself, establish a routine bedtime for your child. It will help to create order in your family life.
- Most children need to unwind after school before doing homework. Let them take a breather and do some quiet activities.
- Establish a predictable homework routine. Give them a snack before they begin homework. Have a quiet place to study. let your child take short breaks every 20 minutes or so to move around (ten jumping jacks is is good to get energy flowing and refocus them, but anything active is good). When they complete their homework, have them prepare for tomorrow: put in their backpack and pack anything else they need for the next day. That way, in the morning, they only thing left to put in the backpack is lunch.
- Create a morning routine (e.g. wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, and hair, make lunch, put it in backpack, go to school). Protein at breakfast and healthy snacks later in the day help boost learning and concentration.
- Create a whiteboard calendar in an obvious spot with all appointments and activities for your children, so they can plan accordingly.
- Be aware of how many and what types of after-school activities are appropriate for your child. Again, you know your child best. Don't overload the child, but, at the same time, do not leave too much of a free time.
- If you point out to your child the fact that each class and teacher is different, it will help the child to focus on figuring out the “customs” of each class. Making children aware will help them pay closer attention to the rules that some students figure out easily, but others need to be explicitly told. Encourage your child to feel free to ask the teacher about the rules and expectations, if the child is not sure.
If, even after all of these, your child is still uncomfortable and unsure of the expected behaviors, and struggling with any particular subject, do not hesitate to contact us via e-mail (email@example.com) or by phone (416.727.4220 or 877.320.9357). We will be happy to assist you.
We wish you and your children a happy, successful year!