Hello to all the great parents out there who are all going through the bittersweet transition back to school! It’s day 4 for me of doing the early morning wake up and I’m still leaning heavily on my coffee to get us all out the door by 8am. My oldest child is in Kindergarten this year but since there is no bus service to her school, my 2 and 4 year old children have to be up, dressed, and fed too. (well, on second thought maybe they don’t have to be dressed and fed but they do have to be up which can be the biggest hurdle!)
As we all know, there are a myriad of schedule changes and adjustments that we have to make to ‘settle in ‘ to our new routines. What I can often lose sight of is that I am not the only one adjusting to ‘back to school’, my children are too! I’d like to offer a few suggestions as to how you can express understanding and support to your children as they navigate the changes that ‘back to school’ brings for them.
• By asking your child, “Tell me about your day” you are expressing interest as well as giving your child an opportunity to tell you ‘anything at all about the day.’ If your child needs prompting, you could ask
1. “What was the best part of your day?”
2. “What was the hardest part of your day?”
Demonstrate your genuine interest by making direct eye contact as you dialogue with your child.
• You could create a ‘Guessing Game’ by asking your child to draw a picture of the favorite part of the day. Your child could share the picture with other family members and have them guess as well.
• During the first few days of school, teachers usually discuss “Classroom Rules.” Ask your child to name the rules. This would provide an opportunity for you to reinforce the same rules at home. In my child’s class they have a rhyme that we have adopted at home as well: “Obey-right away, all the way, with a good attitude, everyday”
• You may want to ask your child what they like about their teacher(s). You can reinforce the qualities mentioned and add some of your own.
• Sometimes children have a difficult time answering open ended questions. If this seems true for your child, try asking them questions that they can respond to on a scale of 0-10. “On a scale of 0-10 (0 you don’t like it at all, 10 you love it) how do you like riding the bus?” This will often make it easier for your child to answer the question and add details as they wish. You may want to draw a line with a and face at either end and have them mark where their feeling fall.
• Your child will be bringing home artwork and other work papers during the course of the school year. You may want to purchase a special, durable box to keep their work. At the end of the school year, your child could choose their favorite papers to keep in a special folder or box and save as a Keepsake. Your child may wish to decorate the box and keep it in a special place. This way, the favorite papers will be preserved.
I wish you all a smooth transition back to school. Be patient with yourself and your little ones as you each make adjustments to your lives. For more great ideas of ways to engage with your little ones visit http://www.productiveparenting.com/