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Back-to-School Tips: How to help your child get a terrific start

| Categories: Schools & Students
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September is a busy time of year for both kids and parents. Children are getting back into regular routines after long stretches of unstructured time; which can take some adjustment. Here are some general tips to keep in mind to help the transition go smoothly:

  • Focus on shifting sleep patterns back to reflecting the school year routine.
  • Rest assured, your school is ready to receive your child in the first week of September. Principals will share information with parents and students about the process for the start of the school year at each VSB school, but in general, it can take a week or so before all students are placed in their classes with their teachers.
  • The first day – September 4 – will be a short one, only an hour long in most cases.
  • Familiarize yourself with the new BC curriculum to learn more about the changes your child will see in their new grade. Teachers are excited about implementing fresh and innovative learning opportunities.
  • When you get your child's schedule make sure their classes are correct. If your child is in secondary school, encourage them to review their schedules and make an appointment with a school counsellor if there are any questions.
  • Help your child to set goals and targets for their learning.
  • Ensure you are aware of traffic, parking and stopping rules so everyone gets to and from school safely. Show your child you are follow the rules of the road, and they likely will too.
  • Be enthusiastic about the start of school. Many students, especially younger ones, pick-up on their parents' emotions. If you're pumped about school, odds are they will be as well.
  • Be on the lookout for signs that your child is experiencing challenges such as anxiety. AnxietyBC's "Simple Tips to Help Minimize Student Anxiety on the First Day" offers some practical advice that can help.

Additional tips - especially for parents of elementary school kids:

  • Grocery shop as a family to ensure lunches are both nutritious and palatable – kids will be more likely to eat what's in their lunch bags when they have some input.
  • Read aloud to get back in the book-reading habit and set a good example. If your child sees you reading, they're much more likely to want to pick-up a book too.
  • Brainstorm a couple of ideas of summer stories with your child to share with the rest of the class – during the initial back-to-school weeks there will be a lot of "sharing what we did on vacation", and being prepared helps.
  • Practise your commute – by foot, wheel or car – this is a great way to help your little ones adjust to a new routine. And if you drive, consider parking a few blocks away and make the rest of the way on foot. Not only does this limit traffic around a school, but it's an active way to begin and end the day!
  • Play fun games that reinforce and reintroduce skills learned previously (counting games, reviewing colours, reading signs). The key is to make sure the games are fun, not stressful.

Whatever your child's age, plan on becoming involved in the school community. Each school has a Parent Advisory Council (PAC) – which allows parents the right to assume an advisory role in every school. Parents are encouraged to join their child's school PAC - membership is open to all parents. This may involve discussing parents' concerns and aspirations for their schools, sharing expertise with other parents or volunteering at events.

Please visit your child's school website for further information.

You can find further resources on getting your children ready for the classroom by visiting the Government of British Columbia website.

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