There’s just something about seeing the bright yellow school bus rolling down the street and little ones excitedly (or nervously) waiting for it to arrive to climb aboard. Even through it’s been many years since my kids have taken those sweet bus rides, I warmly smile as I see the bus approaching on my early morning walks in my neighborhood, and I feel for the mamas who have a whirlwind of emotions during this time of year. School is just back in session. As much as it’s an exciting time for both parents and their kiddos, it can also be a bit stressful. As a mom of three, I’ve gone through many back-to-school days that taught me about how to help my children through this special and all-important transition time of year.
Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned:
Children Handle Change Differently: One child might welcome a new class filled with faces that will soon become close friends. Another child might withdraw because they’re shy and have trouble meeting new peers. As a mom, it’s important to take special note of how each one of our kids embrace and handle the new year. The shy child might need a play date on the weekends with a good buddy. Or perhaps you might spend a little more time asking about the new classmates, giving examples on ways they can say hello and meet new friends.
A New Teacher Can Be Your Best Resource: Although teachers themselves are easing into the new school year, I’ve found they warmly welcome e-mails from parents. This is a great time to introduce yourself and ask if perhaps the teacher needs any help in the classroom, if your schedule permits. If you have concerns and insights you’d like to share for them to better know your child and make the transition period a little smoother, it’s a good time to share this or ask to schedule a quick conference chat. Perhaps your daughter had a very hard time with math last year and feels a little bit reluctant about the subject. Teachers need to be aware so they may best work with your child and their special needs or areas of attention that may need a little extra encouragement or TLC.
Don’t Complain About Homework: As Moms, we set the tone. When you pick up your child on a busy day, it’s fine to hope there’s not a lot of homework because it takes away family time. Just remain positive about it even if your young one is swamped. A project on the Grand Canyon? You say: “Great! Let’s go collect some rocks. That will be fun.” Have to draw a map of the states? “Cool. Let’s make a family list of what places we want to visit.” Your enthusiasm is contagious!
Make The Little Things Easier: Please don’t sweat the small stuff. Pack those lunches the night before. Choose their favorite (healthy) lunches to prepare. Don’t immediately jump into carpooling. A little one-on-one time to start the school year can make a world of difference. In other words, make it as uncomplicated as possible to have a smooth start.
Send Sweet Surprise Notes: There’s nothing better than getting a happy “I love you” note in a lunchbox! A sweet, simple note to let your child know you’re thinking about them can be just the warm hug they need while away at school. If you have little ones still at home, they can draw special pictures along with your note. A touch of home is so welcome especially during the first couple weeks of the new year.
Moms, you’re the permanent and most influential teacher in your child’s life. If you teach your little ones to love school and welcome new adventures, then your newly minted first or third grader (or any grade) will go out there with the best of attitudes.
Here’s to our kids having an amazing school year! And to the moms having one, too!