08-15-2011 (Dayton, OH) -
As a parent, sending a child off for their first day of school can be a scary thought. To start the year off right, it’s important to establish and maintain an open, clear channel of communication with all teachers.
This is true at any level of education, but especially at the preschool/kindergarten level as your child is just beginning their time in school. As your child advances through the school system they may encounter difficulty with adjusting to new faculty or customs at the beginning of each year.
Parents may have mixed emotions about whether their child is ready for preschool; however, preschool does act as a great stepping stone to prepare a child for kindergarten and beyond. But going to preschool does come with its fair share of emotions, for both the parent and the child. The more comfortable the parent is about their decision, and the more familiar the setting can be made for their child, the fewer problems parents — and their little one — will encounter.
Once your child reaches the elementary school level it’s not as big of an adjustment to progress from grade to grade. However, it can be stressful on kids to transition to middle school and then later to high school. It’s important for parents or caregivers to be supportive, interested and enthusiastic before these big transitions. “There is a fear of the unknown,” says James Huebner, MEd, school psychologist at The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton.
“Children wonder what their new classmates are going to be like or if they’re going to like their new teacher. It’s a completely new experience for children starting school for the first time. It can seem quit scary for a young child.”
Parents should attend orientation with their child just before school begins. This allows both the parent and child to meet the teachers and collect a better understanding of where classrooms, lockers, and lunch rooms are, making it less stressful on your child, the first day.
Once school has begun, help your child to begin good study habits early on. Establishing a good work ethic will set the tone for what lies ahead the rest of the school year. Together plan out when and where your child will work on their homework. Also help them set aside time for leisure, relaxing, and after school activities.
If your child wishes to take the next step and pursue college or technical school, they will be able to take these positive study habits with them after they’ve left the nest. Once they’ve selected a college and read all of their freshman orientation materials the excitement sets in as well as the nerves, which they may be reluctant to admit. “Excitement and emotions often run high in the months before college classes begin, which can lead to unnecessary fights and disagreements and tension between parents and their children,” Gregory Ramey, PhD, vice president for outpatient services and child psychologist at The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton says.
“Although it can be a nerve-wracking couple of months, parents and their children need to remember to enjoy the last few months before a college student’s life begins.”
Dr. Ramey suggests ways parents can help prepare their teenager for college:
- Talk to your child. Ask your child about any fears or concerns they have about going to school. Talk about your expectations with grades, money and safety precautions. Let your child know that you will be there for them to talk to, even after they begin school. Express excitement about your child’s upcoming life transition.
- Don’t be afraid to bring up topics like sex, drugs and alcohol. Educate your child on the consequences of these risk-taking behaviors. Let him or her know that it is possible to fully experience college life while still being safe and responsible.
- It’s ok to ask for help. What should your teen do if there’s an emergency? Let them know that it’s ok to contact you at any time and that there are lots of ways to get help on campus if they need to talk to or see someone.
Once your child starts college, it is important to stay in contact with your college student. Even if a child lives at home and commutes to school, a college student’s hours often conflict with a normal family schedule and it’s easy to fall out of contact. “Parents should never hesitate to seek out and talk to their child,” Dr. Rameysays.
With these tips and tricks by Dayton Children’s both parent and child will be able to navigate each school year hopefully better than the last.
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