Helping Your Child Transition To a New School Year
No matter where your child is in his or her academic journey, the days and weeks leading to the first day of school in September can be exciting. It can also be a time when children and youth require extra support and reassurance as they transition to new grades, schools or programs.
The Durham Catholic District School Board (DCDSB) offers suggestions for parents, guardians and caregivers in supporting children during transitional periods.
“There are many ways that adults can help students cope with an upcoming transition, and teach young people coping strategies,” says Diane Mullane, Psychological Associate and Mental Health Lead at DCDSB.
Ms. Mullane suggests the following tips as a starting point to help students transition with ease:
- Talk about the upcoming transition in a positive way with your child.
- Arrange visits to the new school, letting them talk about feelings and concerns, while reassuring them that it’s natural to feel apprehensive.
- Help children develop a sense of when and how to use coping strategies such as relaxation and breathing techniques.
- Encourage physical activity. If your child is not interested in playing team sports, plan hikes or bike rides where new scenery can be discovered and explored.
- Promote healthy eating — start to nurture a positive attitude by treating the body to nutritious meals and snacks.
- Help your child get organized to help prepare for the expected and unexpected.
- Create opportunities for your child to make new friends or strengthen existing friendships through playdates or participation in summer programs.
- Set an example by making positive choices when you are faced with stress. As they grow up, children may observe and emulate similar behaviours of the adults in their lives.
- Seek professional help for your child if you suspect they are turning to drugs or alcohol to cope with stress.