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

September is a hectic time of year for kids. They're getting back into regular routines after enjoying long stretches of unstructured time. That change of pace can take its toll on the whole family. Here are some general things 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 communicate with parents and students about the process for the start of school year at each VSB school, but in general, it usually takes a week or so before all students are placed in their classes with their teachers.
  • As usual, the first day - September 5 - will be a short one, only an hour long in most cases.
  • To learn more about the changes your child will see in their new grade, familiarize yourself with the new curriculum. Teachers are excited about implementing these fresh ideas.
  • When you get your child's schedule make sure their classes are correct. If you have a secondary school student encourage them to review their schedules and make an appointment with a school counsellor if there are any questions.
  • Set goals and targets for learning so your child can hit the ground running.
  • Consider buying your standard school supplies ahead of time - pencils, pens, paper, sturdy backpack - but keep in mind teachers may have specific requirements. For example, secondary students are often asked to cover their textbooks.
  • Make sure you are aware of traffic, parking and stopping rules so you're getting to and from school safely. Show your student you are obeying 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 parent's emotions. If you're pumped about school, odds are they will be as well.
  • Be on the lookout for signs that your child is anxious. AnxietyBC offers some Simple Tips to Help Minimize Student Anxiety on the First Day

VSB principals have some 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 has been packed when they've had 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.
  • Together, brainstorm a couple of ideas or summer stories your child can 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.
  • Play fun games that reinforce and reintroduce skills learned previously (counting games, reviewing colors, 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. There will be lots of different volunteer opportunities and it's a great way to get to know your children's teachers and other parents. Contact your school's Parent Advisory Council for more information.

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