For many of us parents sending our kids to school can be a little unnerving. Either because it is their first year or just the first year of middle or high school.
Okay, so many of us are probably ready for our kids to go back to school. The anxiety comes from wondering who our kids will be around, who their teacher will be, and what they will hear and learn (aside from the text book stuff).
Speaking from the perspective of one that has a kid going to a new school it can be especially unnerving. If you are about to send your kid to Kindergarten, Middle School, or High School for their first experience on that campus you are likely a little stressed and anxious about what they will face.
Here are 4 things that will help you be prepared and reduce the stress level for you and your student.
1. Be prepared. I have been a notorious procrastinator my whole life. However, having kids has changed this because otherwise I would never get things done. This has spilled over into everyday life in a good way. My wife really helps this and that makes a big difference. Being prepared here simply means getting things to the school ahead of the deadline. If you wait until the day of or the day before, you will undoubtedly run into problems and increase stress instead of reducing it. Also not waiting until the last minute to buy school supplies helps. It’s so easy to do this online now, no one has an excuse to put it off until the last minute.
2. Do your homework. You will feel much better if you know where your student is going and what adults will be there. Don’t miss the meet the teacher night. Set up a meeting with the principle. Walk the halls of the school. In addition you can talk to parents of older students about their experience. Someone that has been-there-done-that has valuable information about how things work at the school because each school is unique.
3. Be involved. Yes we are all busy, but it doesn’t take much time to make it up to the school once or twice a semester and it can make a huge difference. If teachers and staff know you are willing to come visit they will feel more comfortable about talking to you about your child. You can also begin to build a trusting relationship with them that will be to your benefit if you ever have anything you need from them. Many schools, not all, will allow you to sign up to be a volunteer. It only costs you time and you only show up for the things you really can help with. It is well worth it to do this at your kids school(s).
4. Ask questions, lots of questions. You should always be asking questions. You don’t have to be annoying just feel free to ask when you see something you don’t understand or aren’t sure how to handle. Asking about certain projects and who your child is friends with help you stay informed about what is going on. If you assume you know the answer you can easily be very wrong and wish you had asked. The worst that happens if you ask is that someone acts like it is a dumb question, but reality it is worth the risk.
What helps you reduce stress related to your kids school? I will write about what not to do in a later post.