By: Dr. Paul
Originally posted on Dr. Paul’s website: http://www.drpaul.com/behaviour/schoolprep.php
A lot of the stress and anxiety (child and parental) can be avoided or decreased if parents prepare themselves and their children for the upcoming new school year. The most important thing is to find out what is expected of your child and what the specific new challenges will be. Knowing challenges your child will be facing and discussing them before hand is a great preparation. The more prepared a child, the less surprises there will be, ensuring a smoother beginning. Some of the challenges or issues include:
- A new school
- First time going to school
- First time on a school bus
- What will the first few days ask of the child?
- What is the schools philosophy? start right away with homework or ease into assignments?
Parents of children with learning problems or other school related difficulties should meet the teacher(s) and/or principal in advance in order to:
- Describe and discuss the problems and any anticipated difficulties
- Agree to a joint plan on how to address the problems or difficulties
- Make arrangements on how often the school will give you regular feedback on the child’s progress
- Settle on how the school to home communication occurs logistically; phone call? Or even a home/school notebook
It is best to have these plans worked out before school starts or very early on in the new school year.
Getting enough sleep and eating a proper breakfast
It is important to ensure that children are well rested, have had a good night’s sleep and a good breakfast before starting school. This of course important every school day, but especially important during the first days back when children will need to be as rested and relaxed as a possible. Tired children tend to be more anxious, impatient and more easily upset and frustrated.
Medical check ups and chronic medical conditions or food allergies
It is important that your child receives a medical check up before school starts. During the evaluation a hearing and vision screening should be done. The necessary immunizations or booster shots, if needed, may also be given at this time. If a child has a chronic medical condition requiring special attention at school, the administration of medication at school or any limitation of a physical activities make sure that you get all the proper paper work prepared by your doctor so that the school can easily understand what is expected of them regarding your child’s medical needs and condition.
Similarly if your child had food allergies, it is important supply to the school with the necessary medical documents describing what to avoid and how to deal with accidental ingestion of a food your child is allergic to. The school should always have an Epipen or adrenalin injector (not expired) on hand that is easily accessible at all times. The school personnel should all know how to uses this medication in case of an emergency.