Written by Guest Contributor, Abby Belasco
As children across Stapleton are headed back to school, I wanted to introduce myself to the Scoop Community and share a few positive ideas to help make it a smooth transition. I am a teacher, tutor and mom in the neighborhood. I have lived in Stapleton for 12 years and I have two children who attend first grade at Swigert and 7th grade at DSST Montview Middle School. This fall I am teaching an enrichment class at Inspire and Swigert titled “Happy Handwriting Help!”
Good luck with the beginning of the school year and contact me if you have any questions or concerns about your child. Here are my tips for having a successful start to the school year.
1 – Remember to breathe – Excitement is tough to control, especially for kids. Breathing with your child teaches them that they can calm themselves down and you, as a parent are modeling great habits.
2 – Connect with your child – Most humans want to create a connection. As a role model, you are their main support system for their mind and body. Ask them questions which help them label their emotions. Here are some great questions to ask your child before the first day:
So, you’re feeling excited, is that right?
What does your body tell you right now?
Are you hungry or do you have butterflies?
What is the best thing that could happen?
Can you imagine making a new friend?
What is the worst thing that could happen?
What can you do after that happens?
The most important time to be with your child is the first 10 minutes of the day and the last 10 minutes of the day. Remind them – I will love you no matter what happens at school.
3 – Change takes time – Remember in the beginning of the school year there are lots of directions and everything goes fairly slowly. If at all possible, give your child space and time to absorb the changes and don’t plan too much the first few weeks. Activities don’t have to happen immediately, and try to limit stressful events like, new braces, a guest staying in the house, or having an activity every day.
4 – Bring a snack – Many children don’t eat when they are stressed. Lunch in the cafeteria can be stressful. When the school day is over offer them a variety of healthy snacks almost immediately. I always bring a pick-up snack to school or the bus stop so that my child has something yummy to eat. Cut veggies, fruit, pretzels, or peanut butter on almost anything are great go-to’s for after school snack time. (To be honest – my son eats more from 3:30-5:00 than any other time in the day!)
5 – Create a routine -Children thrive on routines, that’s why school is so easy to follow for most children. For younger children try making a visual schedule so they know what is happening from wakeup till bedtime. Start with one day of a structured routine for kids under 5. As kids get older they can understand a weekly calendar, and eventually a monthly calendar. Some kids have a hard time with changes, by showing them when important events or trips out of town will occur, they can adjust their expectations and become more comfortable with changes.