21 Sep A New Year in Elementary School: 8 Tips for Maintaining Success throughout the Year
Fall means that summer temperatures begin to drop, leaves start to change color and school is in full swing. The onset of a new school year is exciting for some kids as they settle back in to school, reunite with friends and resume learning. For other kids, a new school year may evoke less desirable feelings, such as anxiety about the year to come. As parents and caregivers, it is important to be aware of how your child experiences that transition back to school and the pressures they experience throughout the year, in order to support them and set them up for success.
1) Attend Open House, parent-teacher conferences and other school events. These opportunities provide the opportunity to form a relationship with your child’s teacher and other adults that interact with your child on a daily basis. This effort is also a way to lead by example. This action demonstrates your commitment to the school and investment in your kid’s education.
2) Have an open dialogue with your kids about school. Make sure your kids know that they can talk to you about the good, as well as the bad, regarding school.
3) Validate any feelings of frustration, dislike, sadness or worry they might have. Kids need to know that their feelings are normal and they will get through this.
4) Remind them that other kids feel the same way and that adjusting to a new year, as well as maintaining rigor, can be hard, but that we adapt and persevere.
5) Provide examples of other instances that your son/daughter demonstrated persistence. Reminding kids of their success in difficult times helps them become more resilient, giving them the “I can do it” attitude.
6) Expect some ebb and flow of emotions. Kids may change their mind about school by the day, hour or even minute! This may indicate excitement surrounding areas of confidence and success, as well as those aspects of school that trigger anxiety or dislike.
7) Help your child to acknowledge the positives and problem solve surrounding the negatives. For example, if your child is concerned about keeping up in math, brainstorm some solutions, such as, relying on the on the skills they already have, asking their teacher for help and working on homework together.
8) Involve your kids in signing up for extra-curricular or social activities. Extracurricular activities can provide a great opportunity for further learning, enjoyment and character development, if you child wants to be there. When kids feel that they had a role in the decision making process, they may present with increased dedication. By soliciting their input in activities, kids may experience an increased sense of control over the situation. When extracurricular activities are school-sponsored or engage kids your children see at school, they provide an additional opportunity to form a positive connection to school.
Kids at the elementary age need to explore which activities they enjoy and have success. Allow them these opportunities without “over scheduling” them where they resent not being able to have downtime to play with friends.
Good luck! Have a great school year!
Leslie is a licensed clinical social worker who has been working with children, teens, and families in the Chicago area since 2009. She grew up in Highland Park and received her Bachelor of Social Work, with a focus on children and families from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 2008. Leslie then returned to Chicago and earned her Master of Social Work degree from The University of Illinois at Chicago’s Jane Addams College of Social Work in 2009. Shortly after graduation, she obtained her school social work certification (Type 73) and began working in the Chicago Public Schools providing case management as well as individual and group counseling for students. Leslie is passionate about empowering youth and families to accomplish their goals. She is inspired by the energy that children bring to the table, and by the positive results that come from collaborating with parents, families, school staff, and the community. Nothing makes Leslie happier than clients feeling prepared and confident to embrace the good things that come their way, as well as overcome any challenges that they may face presently or in the future. When she is not with clients, Leslie enjoys spending time with friends and family. She can often be found jogging along the lake, cheering on the Cubs at Wrigley Field, or dining at a new restaurant.