Looking Ahead to the Next School Year
Dr. Patricia Nan Anderson
Development & Learning
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Whether your child will venture forth on her very first school experience this fall, will transition to a new school, or will just start the next grade at her old location… now is the time to take some steps to get the year off on the right foot. Here are some thoughts:
1. Remember who’s going and who’s not. Even though it’s startling to realize you’re the parent of a child old enough to start kindergarten or middle school (or even college), going to school is your child’s experience, not yours. So while you might be inclined to dress for success the first few days on a new job, your child more likely wants to dress for comfort or dress to blend in. When you shop for school clothes and school supplies, practicality is the quality to shoot for.
2. Keep your worries to yourself. You might be anxious to know that your child was assigned your preferred teacher or gets into your choice of school or is chosen for a special program. That’s understandable: most of us would like to be granted our every wish. But don’t share your anxieties with your child. As you know, not every wish comes true and if your child knows your wish was disappointed his perception of his new class will be tainted. Don’t set things up for a bad beginning.
3. Realize that every experience is educational. One of the great advantages going off to school has over home-schooling is the diversity of experience that school affords. Children have to learn to adapt, work things out, and make do. This is not a bad thing. Learning to get along with others on their terms is probably the single most-important part of the school curriculum. Don’t try to manage every detail or make things “right.” They may actually be right, right now.
4. Be hopeful and be glad. A cheerful, positive outlook is a great gift you can give your child. Help her start the new school year feeling optimistic and capable. Finish up the summer on a high note and look ahead with anticipation.
It’s going to be a great year!
© 2012, Patricia Nan Anderson. All rights reserved.