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Adjusting to School

A little planning and encouragement goes a long way toward helping your child have a good attitude about school.

  1. Help your child think of school in a positive way.

    Point out that your child will make new friends and learn new and interesting things. Reassure your child that if any problems come up at school, you are there to help resolve them with him.

    Put a note, cartoon, or picture in his lunch box.

  2. Make sure your child gets enough sleep and eats a healthy diet.

    Give your child a healthy breakfast each morning. Let your child make some decisions about lunch. Set a bedtime routine so that your child gets 9 or 10 hours of sleep per night.

  3. Help your child unwind once the school day is over.
  4. Give your child focused attention and affection every day. Give a hug and talk about the school day. Ask what happened, what they learned. Listen for feelings of anger or fear along with feelings of excitement and satisfaction. Ask about friends, trips on the school bus, and other parts of the school day, not just about studies.

    Your child may say he hates a classmate one day but want to sit next to her in the cafeteria the next day. Don’t rush to try to solve your child’s problem. However, if your child seems worried or anxious, you may need to get involved. Talk with your child's teacher to see if she has noticed any problems. If your child is being bullied or having a hard time making friends, role-playing what to do can help.

    Your child's time at school is quite structured. Don't overschedule time after the school day is over. Help your child to let off steam through active outdoor play or sports.

  5. Help your child get organized.

    Arrange study space. Set aside one corner somewhere in your home where your child can concentrate. Provide a table or desk, good lighting, reference materials, and school supplies. If possible, keep the study area far from tempting distractions like the TV.

    Plan for the next day. Help your child get into the habit of organizing things. Check on clothes, backpack, lunch money, permission slips, and homework the night before. Both you and your child will be less frazzled in the morning.

    Note important dates. Buy a giant wall calendar with large boxes. If your child is too young to read or write, draw pictures symbolizing important school activities. Help an older child jot down dates of tests, reports, field trips, and special events.

  6. Set up a regular homework routine.

    Doing homework before or after dinner is a good habit for most children. While things may need to change sometimes, a fixed time each afternoon or evening for school assignments will keep your child from panicking at the last minute.

  7. Be available to encourage your child.

    Show your children you care about how they do in school. Make yourself available at some time each day. If your child has problems with a certain subject, talk to the teacher about things you could do at home as well as tutoring or other special attention at school.

    Help with homework, but do not do homework for your child. This is not a way to protect them. It keeps the child from learning the subject. It also keeps them from learning self-confidence.

  8. Show your child that learning is fun and natural.

    Ask questions, exchange ideas, and get your child's opinion on different topics. Keep books, games, and projects around the house. Talk with older children about their goals for the year and how they might become involved in a school activity, club, or sport.

    The family might go on a field trip together. Places to visit could include a working farm, museum, zoo, radio or television station, or the state capital. Above all, let your child see you enjoying new challenges and activities.

  9. Become involved in your child's school.

    You might want to write a letter to your child’s teacher before school starts. Tell the teacher if your child loves dinosaurs, drawing, or taking care of a baby brother. This can help the teacher know the best ways to help your child feel comfortable.

    Join a parent-teacher organization or volunteer your time. This helps you share more of your child's world. You are also in a better position to understand and make suggestions for improvement.

    Find out what school activities are available and encourage your child to get involved.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2013.2 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2012-05-16
Last reviewed: 2012-05-14
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2013 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
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