The key to starting the new school year off right

by Nane Vardanyan

However much you think you have prepared for your child’s first year of school, there is always something new to learn and adapt to. Attending school for the first time is a big occasion for the whole family. So, what’s the key to starting it off right?

Here’re a few tips from COAF psychologist Varsi Senekerimyan:

  • Create a positive image of the school.

Children often perceive things the way grown-ups pack them. Therefore, it is essential not to create the sense that school puts an end to the playtime and activities kids love most. When entering this new chapter in life, the to-do list is already comprehensive — no need to dramatize it even more!

  • Watch your child in the new environment.

How do children express themselves in a new setting? How fast do they absorb information? Do they easily communicate with peers? These are all questions worth addressing to see a child from a different angle.

  • Organize the school day

It is useful to divide the day into rituals to manage multitasking: lessons, after-school programs, game time, rest, etc. By learning different organization hacks for school, parents can prevent things from piling up and becoming overwhelming. Developing a schedule will also instill organization and time management skills among the young.

  • Work cohesively with the academic staff.

Hand-in-hand cooperation with teachers will help identify the child’s strengths and weaknesses and work towards them. Teachers may notice interesting manifestations of the child’s behavior that have not yet appeared in other environments.

  • Balance the involvement level in homework.

Every parent is somehow involved in the homework, especially in the early school years. However, what’s the “Golden Mean” of not interfering in a child’s independence? “When helping a child with homework, it is preferable to explain the task first and let the child do as much as they can,” says psychologist Varsi.

  • Don’t take your child’s academic performance too personally.

Parents often take the results of their kids’ work to heart: consider academic mistakes as their own and tend to make the child behave as they would do. Instilling diligence and love for education in the child is important, but every child is allowed to make mistakes, and parents should not take them too personally.

  • Let your kid feel they are not alone.

New environments and people can be stressful for children. Hence, it is very important for children to feel the presence and support of their parents and family at each stage of school adaptation. Even when staying at school for several hours without family, children should feel they are not alone.