Every September, the “Back to School” season begins. Students are both anxious and excited about a new school year, meeting their new teacher, new friends and new expectations. Parents are equally if not more anxious and also excited about getting their children back to school.
There are a few things that can be done to help ease the tension of this special time of the year. Being prepared is probably the best way to get ready. Speak to your children about the upcoming change in routine and start working on a plan together. Begin with adjusting the routine around bedtime. Getting a good night’s sleep and being well rested are keys to success during the school year, so get started on setting an early bedtime routine. Of course the first night no one gets a good night’s sleep, not even the teachers and school staff, however this will pay dividends during the school year.
For younger children, especially if it is the first time going to school or if they are changing schools, take them to visit the school. Although it may be closed, walking around the schoolyard, showing them where they will line up, identifying the key locations for drop off and pick up can help ease the first day jitters. Also, take some time to provide them with an opportunity to play in the playground. This can be done in an evening or on the weekend. Whatever you can do to make them comfortable with their “home away from home” will make their start that much easier.
If you know other children that will be attending the school or if you are lucky to know someone in the same grade, try to provide opportunities for your children to interact before school starts. Having a friend at school before it starts can also be helpful.
Prepare their outfit for school and have it ready to go. Not only will it make it easier in the morning, but looking good will also help them feel good. Plan and prepare a nutritious and healthy lunch and snacks. Have children be a part of this planning process by having their input. Stay away from high sugar and processed foods. Proper nutrition is the fuel that will get them through the day.
As parents, try to take some time, after drop off or during the day to collect your thoughts and get prepared to hear all about the first day. Providing time in the evening to talk to your children about their first day will give them an outlet and an opportunity to work through any issues. It will also provide insight for the parents on their child’s success in school and of course any challenges. This practise is good for the first week and throughout the school year.
Most schools are open the week before school officially opens, starting Monday, August 26th. If you have any questions or concerns, you can call or visit the school to get the support needed. You can find more information for Toronto schools at the following internet sites: www.tdsb.on.ca for public schools and www.tcdsb.org for catholic schools.
There is no perfect way to prepare for back to school. Do your best, and hang on for an exciting and exhausting first week of school. You will have the rest of the year to perfect the routines. Be involved, listen to your children and work closely with your child’s teacher and the school to provide the best educational experience for your child. Get ready, the big day is coming, September 3rd.
Centrally Assigned Principal
Toronto District School Board