The lazy days of summer are over, and it's time to crack the books. It's a new school year, and a new beginning.Come over here! Go over there! Hurry up! Slow down! Childhood can be a time when rules and restrictions rush at our kids from everywhere. When we encourage them on the road to success, they may only see stop signs in every direction.
Giving your child the tools to begin this new school year with self-confidence and positive self-image, will make it a successful experience and will provide them with skills that will last throughout their life. Your child's self esteem is built upon good feelings about parents, authority figures at school, about other children and about him or herself as a worthwhile human being.
Begin by recognizing that the first day of school is an important event. Learning to like school and loving to learn are closely related. Convey a positive attitude about school. If you show enthusiasm for what the school experience can mean, the child is more likely to look forward to it. Whether it's a child's first time in school or entering a new class, the new surroundings can be overwhelming. A child may be anxious, and needs to know as many details as possible. Working parents should be sure to let the child know what plans for before and after school have been made. Make transportation plans clear to your child. If he or she is to walk to school, make sure to review the route with your child, a few times before school starts. If there are other children from your neighborhood who are of the same age, see if they can walk together. If a child goes to school by bus, familiarize your child with the bus stop location and the vehicle. Encourage older children to watch over the younger ones.
Create a normal routine at home the first few days of school. Always be a good listener, allowing for time to talk about school or the people there. Take an active interest in what your child tells you. Get to know your child's teacher, and get involved at your child's school. Praise your child for the good things he/or she has done. Always, remember that there is more to be gained from accenting the positive. A pat on the back for the right answers can go a long way. Too often we tend to focus on poor performance and behavior.
Treat the "going to school experience" as a part of the normal course of events, something that is expected of your child and accepted by you. Show understanding, offer encouragement, and be available to discuss any concerns he/or she may have. A calm matter-of-fact positive attitude is your goal. Plan your day so that you can spend time with your child. Be available when your child needs you. Make sure there is time to discuss school and the events of the day.
Let your child settle any differences or difficulties that may arise with school friends. Unless, children are physically harming each other, it is not wise to interfere. Try to let them work it out on their own. Help your child cope with occasional frustrations and disappointments at school. Learning to cope with all kinds of experiences is important to your child's development and helps to prepare them for the stresses of life. Avoid comparing one child's school experiences with those of another sibling. Such comparison's can be damaging to your child's self-image. Each of us is different, and we meet life's experiences in our own way. Think of yourself as supporting and helping your child's development, not as "protecting" them from a world about which they must learn. Rarely, a child's difficulty in acclimating to the school setting, continues beyond the first several days. Should their feelings of distress persist the child may have a problem. At this point, seek advice from a professional such as the teacher, principal, child psychologist, and so on. With firm, patient, reassuring handling of the acclimation process by parents and teachers, your child will feel comfortable in the new setting and will make new friends and learn many new exciting and interesting things. What is important for your child's emotional health is that, having faced and mastered a new challenge-with support from others-he or she has helped to build his or her own feelings of self-confidence and security.