Helpful Hints for A Successful Start to the New School Year
Aug. 23, 2021
After more than a year of virtual or hybrid learning, it’s no secret that some parents and students may feel a little anxious as they begin the 2021-2022 school year. Many of our little learners simply haven’t been on a school campus in a long time, with many never having stepped foot in one at all! It’s easy to understand why families may feel a bit apprehensive about adjusting to this new normal as they send their youngest children off to school.
Luckily, there are many ways to help our littlest learners adjust. Even if your children attended school face-to-face last year, there are many strategies parents take to prepare their elementary-aged students for beginning school this fall. Those who are a bit worried about the child's level of knowledge may engage their children in the revision process by exploring kids' learning videos and learning games. Focus on the following to get your kids up to speed:
If your kids are just starting kindergarten, it’s likely that they have been assisted by a teacher to use the restroom in the past, or there was a private potty room within the classroom they could use. In elementary school, however, bathrooms are in a centralized location in a larger building and often contain many stalls. That’s why it’s important to reinforce restroom independence for younger children as they enter kindergarten and even first grade.
For older children, it’s important to speak with them yet again about being proactive regarding asking the teacher to use the restroom, and about proper behavior while there. Remind older children about hand washing and avoiding the temptation to misbehave with their friends while exploring their independence as they grow older.
At home, lunchtimes and food options may be flexible. At school, this all changes when grade levels all have their own assigned time to go to the cafeteria, and lunch menus and school guidelines limit options for eating. Keep in mind that many children only have thirty minutes to eat, and only pack portable foods that are easy to open and unwrap. Check your school’s policies, as some restrict junk foods and sodas. Prepare your school-aged kids, no matter their age, for these lunchtime realities.
Following Rules and Behavioral Basics
For many children, especially for those who have been away from the school building for an extended time, may need some extra help and reminders about behavior in school. Raising hands to speak, lining up single file, and staying quiet when the teacher is talking are all expected behaviors for elementary children to follow.
For younger kids, speak with them to give them an idea of what to expect regarding hand raising, asking to use the restroom, and listening to the teacher respectfully. For older children, remind them that as the older kids, their instructors are expecting them to already know these behaviors, and they should listen carefully to learn about classroom routines and procedures the first week or so of school.
Taking Proper Health Precautions
While this may not have been discussed very often before the pandemic, taking proper health precautions is important for kids no matter what, since all kinds of germs can make our children sick! Be sure to reinforce your child’s knowledge of proper handwashing, applying hand sanitizer, and avoiding touching the face as much as possible. In addition, if your child will be wearing a face covering, it may be helpful to purchase a mask lanyard that will ensure that when it’s removed for a break or for eating, it won’t be dropped on the ground or lost throughout the day. Always stow an extra in your child’s backpack, and make sure they know where to find it if needed.
Apart from masks, review with children the proper way to sneeze into the crook of their arms, and how to use and dispose of tissues on their own. While this seems like a basic step, K-3 teachers already know how difficult it is for early learners to learn these simple hygienic tasks.
Dropoff and Dismissal Procedures
Whether your child is a car rider, walker, or rides the bus, he or she will need to be prepared for arriving to school in the morning and know what to do when leaving in the afternoon. For younger children, it’s important to familiarize them with the school bus so they feel comfortable getting on it without you.
For older kids, it’s important that they know where to go when dropped off at the school. Most schools have policies that restrict parents from entering the building and walking students to class as early as kindergarten. If possible, during an open house or “meet the teacher” event, ask instructors their routines for drop off, and take your child on a tour throughout the school.
Invest in a Planner
As soon as older elementary students can read and write, it’s important to assist them with a routine that helps to keep track of homework and school responsibilities. Many campuses issue students their own planner, but if yours doesn’t, look to purchase one. Look for a planner that is kid friendly, meaning that it includes large text, an easy-to-read calendar, with lines for writing in notes and assignments. Create a routine at home that involves checking to ensure that your child has utilized it in school each day and teach children to check off items as they are finished.
Whether your child is just starting kindergarten or are returning veterans in the 2nd or 3rd grade, they may feel a bit nervous about going to school, especially since many kids haven’t been on any campus in well over a year! In the coming days, prepare your little learners for their big return to school by following the helpful hints above. Then come back here to Kids Academy to find the very best educational resources to supplement your child’s learning this school year!