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Is Your Child Mentally Prepared for Back to School?

August 6, 2015|Posted in: Happy, Healthy, Smart Kids!

Student at Desk

Is your child mentally prepared for back to school?

I’ll never forget the day I delivered my youngest daughter Tarrin (Tara) to her second grade classroom.  We had planned and prepared for this day.  She was adorable in her new outfit!  Her shiny new backpack was packed with just purchased school supplies.  We’d talked about school starting every day for the last couple of weeks, we’d spent the previous evening making preparations and gotten into bed early, we’d gotten up early and had a good breakfast breakfast, we’d delivered her older sister Hillori to her third grade classroom.  Tara was all ready to start the new school year!  Or so I thought.

We met her teacher who pointed out the desk she had assigned to Tara.  I walked her to her desk and assuming she was all settled I told her to have a great day, said goodbye and turned to leave.  That’s when my beautiful little second grader burst into tears!  It was so unexpected, and I was so surprised that my heart just shattered into a million pieces right then and there!

Tarrin is a very smart girl, above average, and was a dedicated student.  However, academics were a challenge for her, unlike her mother and older sister.  I don’t know if that is why she was upset, apprehension over what might be expected of her academically, but I worried that might be the reason.

Both of my girls and I are “socially challenged.”  Now that I look back on the situation, I think that’s the most likely reason for her tears.  She probably felt alone and was afraid she wouldn’t make friends.  As a grown woman now, Tara doesn’t remember this incident, though her mom was scarred by it.  I now have two grandsons who will be going to school in one more year.  I worry how they will adjust and if they will make friends and learn without much difficulty.

As a teacher through the years I’ve seen just about every challenge and insecurity a student can have.  I know it helps them to be able to talk about their worries and concerns.  I had no idea my daughter was feeling anxious about starting the new school year, perhaps she didn’t either.  I only know that that day may have been less traumatic for the both of us if she had been more mentally prepared for school.

Here is a list of questions you can ask your child to help them be mentally prepared for the new school year.

  1. What are you looking forward to the most about this new school year?
  2. What is your least favorite part of school?
  3. What kinds of things can you do to make friends more easily?
  4. Which school subject do you find the most enjoyable and which school subject is the most challenging?
  5. What will you do if you don’t understand or know what’s expected of you?
  6. What will you do it you’re not able to complete an assignment?
  7. What will you do if you get lost or can’t find your way around?
  8. What can you do if you feel sad or lonely at school?
  9. Name five things you can do to make school a positive experience.
  10. Have you made up your mind to make this a great school year?

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  1. Heather Serra
    August 6, 2015

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    I remember that back-to-school anxiety like it was yesterday. Your poor baby! My heart would have shattered too. These questions are a great idea to help quell the jitters.

  2. Camille
    August 10, 2015

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    We struggle with back to school every year. Most of my kids love it but 2 of them have a really hard time. It takes about a month before they are finally used to the new routine and experiences. For them it’s more about change- they don’t like it. These conversations can be helpful but I tend to focus on all the good things more. I do let my oldest just vent though. Sometimes we just need to listen.

    • LoriGraceH
      August 11, 2015

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      Change can be hard. Sometimes I feel uneasy when the weather changes from winter to spring (and I love warm weather much more than cold weather)! Isn’t that crazy?! Listening and encouraging them to focus on the positive is the right thing to do!

  3. Angela
    August 10, 2015

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    Love how you used empowering questions (“what can you do” “what will you do”) so that it helps them see that they can decide to make it a positive experience and they have coping skills to handle tough situations.

    • LoriGraceH
      August 11, 2015

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      Thank you Angela, I probably could have been better at doing that when my kids were little. I’ve learned a lot since then!

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