"Taking time to talk with and listen to your child about the upcoming school year is one of the best ways parents can help their child transition to school life," says Robin Gurwitch, Ph.D., Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
Dr. Gurwitch advises that parents begin talking to their child about school a couple weeks before it starts, and that they listen closely for their child's fears or concerns. She explains that how parents talk to their child, as well as what they say are both important.
Dr. Gurwitch gives parents the following advice to parents on how to help children of all ages prepare for the upcoming school year.
Preschoolers and kindergartners need to know what will happen
- Parents should take their child to visit their school and let them play on the school's playground and meet their new teachers.
- Parents can also choose children's books about school life to help their child understand what to expect in school.
- Parents can let their children watch television shows such as "Blues Clues," "Dora the Explorer" and "Sesame Street" to help prepare them for what they will learn at school.
- To help ease the transition, parents may want to tuck some small reminders of home into their child's backpacks, such as photos of the family or parents.
- Parents should establish routine bed and wake up times to prepare their child for their school schedule.
Elementary school children will need to adjust to new beginnings
- Parents should allow their child some freedom to buy something they want, such as trendy folders or pencils.
- Parents should talk to their child about the new teachers he will have and the new friends he will meet. The notion of a fresh start is usually appealing to children, and can help neutralize bad feelings about school.