With school just around the corner, here are some tips to help your child (and you)
prepare for the new school year!
- Make sure your child is familiar with the school.
If your child was at Kingsgate last year, great! You only need to talk about any
differences this year.
But if this is your child’s first year at Kingsgate, then you’ll want to take some trips
there. Drive by the school and get your child familiar with the commute and the
entrance to the school.
- Facilitate your child’s bonding with the teacher.
All children need to feel connected to their teacher to feel comfortable in the
classroom. Until they do, they are not ready to learn. Kingsgate teachers know this,
and help each student adjust to the new school year.
With that, there are lots of ways to help your child feel like he/she knows a teacher
even before they meet.
For example, once you find out your child’s classroom teacher(s), begin talking about
the teacher in fond and familiar terms. “When you’re in Ms. Williams class, I bet she’ll
be impressed with what a great cleaner-upper you are.” “I’m pretty sure that Ms.
Williams reads stories to her students; she might read your favourite book if we bring
it to school.”
Hanging a photo of your child’s teacher on the refrigerator is also a great way to
create familiarity. Feel free to message any of the Leadership Team if you would like
a picture of your child’s teacher.
- Facilitate bonding with the other children.
Children are always nervous about their new teacher, but if they know any of the
other children, they’ll feel more at ease. Arrange playdates (even virtual ones) with
your child’s classmates so they’ll feel more connected. If you can arrange for your
son or daughter to travel to school that first morning with a child he or she knows
(even if they aren’t in the same classroom), it can also ease last minute jitters.
- Practice saying goodbye.
For many children, the biggest challenge will be saying goodbye to you. Orchestrate
small separations to practice saying goodbye, and develop a parting routine, such as
a hug and a saying something like, “I love you, you love me, have a great day and I’ll
see you a little after 3!”
You might give your child a token to hold on to that reminds him/her of you, such as
a cut-out heart with a love note, your scarf, or a small stone you found on the beach
together. A lot of children like to have a picture of their family in their backpacks.
- Create a plan for how and where you will say goodbye each morning.
If you suspect that your child might have a hard time saying goodbye, speak with the
school now and make a plan for how to handle the first day.
Once you have a plan, begin describing to your child what will happen at school. But
don’t emphasize the goodbye, keep right on going with how fun the day will be.
- Start conversations about the new school year.
Get your child excited by talking about what they can expect this school year,
including snack time, playing with friends, reading, computers, singing and art. If you
know other children who will be at Kingsgate also, be sure to mention that your child
can see or play with them.
It’s also fun for you to share your own stories about things you loved about school
when you were their age.
Also, encourage your child to talk about what they think school will be like. That will
help them to express any fears they may have. Emphasise the things you think your
child will enjoy but be sure not to minimize their fears; children can be stricken by
worries that adults might find silly, like finding the bathroom at school. Normalise any
fears and reassure him/her that they will have fun, that the school can reach you if
necessary, and that your love is always with them even when you aren’t.
- Get your child back on an ‘early to bed’ schedule well before school
Most children begin staying up late in the summer months. However, when you have
to wake up your child for school in the morning, you’ll want to make sure they have
had enough sleep. Children need 8 to 12 hours of sleep a night, depending on their
age and individual physiology. (Children ages 6 – 12 need a minimum of 9 hours of
sleep; teens ages 13 – 18 need a minimum of 8 hours).
Imposing an early bedtime the night before school starts results in a child who simply
isn’t ready for an earlier bedtime. Having slept in that morning and with the night-
before-school jitters, that just isn’t going to work! In that situation, you can expect
everyone’s anxiety to escalate. So keep an eye on the calendar and start moving
bedtime a bit earlier every night by having your child read in bed for an hour before
lights out, which is also good for their reading skills.
- Wake up your child’s brain.
You aren’t the teacher, and you don’t need to start school before the school year
starts. On the other hand, research shows that children forget a lot during the
summer. (Don’t worry, they learn a lot from playing, too.) If your child has been
reading through the summer months, congratulations! If not, this is the time to start.
Introduce the idea that for the rest of the summer everyone in the family (you can
include yourself if you like, or you can read to them) will read for an hour every day.
- Let your child choose his/her own school supplies…
…whether from around your house or from the store. Let your child then pack his/her
own school bookbag.
- The day before school starts, talk about exactly what will happen the
This helps create a “mental movie” in your child’s mind and lets them know exactly
what to expect.
As you are talking, watch for signs that your child is worried. Most children are a little
nervous before the first day of school, but they will soon feel right at home in their
- Get yourself to bed early the night before school…
…so you can get up early enough to deal calmly with any last minute crises. 😉
The night before, be sure that:
o Your child lays out school clothes
o That lunches are made
o Everyone gets enough sleep
o You set an alarm with enough time so that everyone eats a healthy breakfast
Plan to arrive at school early so you have time for meaningful goodbyes. And don’t
forget that “first day of school” photo before you leave home!
- If your child gets teary when you say goodbye, reassure him/her that
they will be fine and that you can’t wait to see them at the end of the
Use the goodbye routine you’ve practiced. Don’t worry. Kingsgate’s teachers know
about first day jitters and are used to helping children adjust to school. Your child’s
jitters won’t last long.