Starting a new school year can be a time of great excitement and anxiety for parents and children. Dr. Faye Taylor, professor at Argosy University in Nashville, offers some advice to help parents get their kids ready for going back to school.
5 Tips for Parents:
The first tip is to establish a schedule and stick to it! Children need structure and routines. Having an established bedtime and a time for all the preliminaries that lead to bedtime (bath, brush teeth, story or calming activity) helps children settle back into the rhythm of the school year routine. Make sure children have the appropriate amount of sleep for their age, and do not allow TV or electronic devices at bedtime. This should be started before the first day of school, if possible.
Be organized. Prepare the night before for the next morning. Having children select what they will wear the night before often saves both time and drama in the mornings. Children should have the responsibility and some authority to select from parent approved attire and should have it laid out and ready to go. This goes for backpacks and other supplies, and, of course, for shoes.
Talk to children about the new year. Find out about teachers and expectations as soon as possible and discuss any concerns your child may have. Be optimistic and supportive of the school and the teachers, and be as active in school activities as you possibly can. But, don’t hover. Give children space to handle their own insecurities about the new year. Transitioning is often more difficult for parents than for children.
Communicate with teachers. Ask questions about school expectations and procedures. School rules and regulations are necessary to assure a safe, efficient, and orderly environment. Review rules and procedures with your child and explain why they are important. Many children feel insecure and hesitant in new situations. They need parents to be confident and competent to help them adjust to the new environment.
Establish a study time each night, and create an environment that is conducive to focus and attention. A good rule of thumb is to engage in reading or another academic activity for approximately 10 minutes times the grade level of the child. Read with your child and to your child daily, even if it is only for 10 minutes.
Remember, the problem is rarely the child’s difficulty with transitioning back to school. Transitions are generally a matter of preparation physically, mentally, and emotionally. The better prepared parents are, the less stress and drama they are likely to have with getting children back into the routine of school.
About Dr. Faye Taylor
Dr. Faye Porter Taylor is an Associate Professor in Counseling in the College of Counseling, Psychology, and Social Sciences at Argosy University, Nashville. Her teaching, supervision, and administrative experiences have been quite diverse during a career of 44 years. During that time, she has been a classroom teacher, an elementary and a middle school principal, a resource teacher, a district level supervisor, a state level director of curriculum and instruction, an executive overseeing federal grants, and a university faculty member. She ended her career in K-12 education as the Tennessee Commissioner of Education in 2003. In 2003, she began working as a consultant with an education reform organization in Washington, DC to direct the implementation of a national project funded by Federal earmark grants in over 600 schools in eleven states. In 2005, she became Chief Executive Officer and moved that non-profit organization to Tennessee. As the state Commissioner of Education, Dr. Taylor was actively involved in higher education, serving on the Tennessee Board of Regents and on the Board of Trustees for the University of Tennessee system. She joined Argosy University Nashville faculty in the fall of 2007. Dr. Taylor teaches counseling students in the key areas of advanced academic writing and studies and research courses. Dr. Taylor is a previous recipient of the Argosy University (Nashville) President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. She has served as chair and methodologist for numerous counseling students’ dissertation studies and serves as chair of the Institutional Review Board and the Student Appeals Committee for the University.