Learning 5 Aug 2021

Tips to help your children settle into the new year

By CIS Communications
Photograph by CIS Communications

Our academic leaders share some practical tips to help your child settle into a new school year.

Angela Henderson, TK principal
It's natural for children to be nervous and the best advice I can give to parents is to acknowledge and validate their child's feelings. Sit with them and ask what situations are making them anxious, perhaps it's the canteen or not knowing where to play or maybe how to find the bathroom. If you don't know the answer, then imagine some possible scenarios for how they would ask for help from a friend or teacher. If a child is not settled after the first couple of days, it is best to reach out to the classroom teacher and then let them know.

Joel Bevans, Lakeside primary vice principal
Here are some open-ended questions to get your children thinking about what an opportunity they have at the beginning of a school year: What are they looking forward to? What are they worried about? What do you want to find about? How do you want to grow as a learner?

Nicholas Kolentse, Lakeside secondary vice principal
Stay connected with your child through conversations, questions and “aha” moments in these first few weeks of the new school year. Connect with your child's advisor (teacher), clarify any questions you might have and learn more about the SMART goals they are setting to show growth.

Lisa Miller, head librarian
Always let them know you believe they can do it — even when you are nervous for them yourself.

Cherie Boltong, TK vice principal
Children will sense any anxieties you have surrounding starting a new school year regardless of how well you think you may be hiding them, so show them how excited you are for the upcoming opportunities, answer their questions, be prepared, and get a good night’s sleep.

Dr Heather Beck, Deputy Head of School
The best way to slip into the new year is to get your routines set. We all perform better when we stick to a schedule for sleeping and eating.

Dan Smith, Lakeside secondary principal
The beginning of any new school year is challenging given all of the changing routines and faces. The modifications that come with COVID safety measures may add new elements to this experience. With all of this in mind I think it's most helpful to know that "back to school" doesn't happen in one day, or even one week. Be patient with the time necessary to reconnect with friends or even find new ones, build relationships of learning with teachers and to fully understand the scope of what will be expected in each class. It's tempting to ask your children about details and logistics from their first days back at school but be sure to ask them about experiences from the people they are interacting with and especially about their reactions or feelings to the broad range of experiences they are likely to have each day.

Colleen Drisner, Lakeside primary principal
Engage your child or children in conversations about their day. My favourite is ending the day with a conversation starter such as "Three Good Things". Kids can talk about three things they enjoyed about the day. They have to explain why it was a good thing.

Jamila MacArthur, Head of Student Support and Wellbeing
Spend time talking to your children about their school days. Oftentimes when you ask the question, how was your day, you don't get a lot of detail! Try asking things like what was your favorite part of the day, what was the hardest thing you did today, and what thing did you learn that you could teach me. Opening up dialogue about what's happening during the school day will ensure a strong home to school connection.

Huali Xiong, K-12 Chinese language and bilingual school principal
Be positive all the time, at least when in front of the kids. Show passion in everything they do at school. Ask them to teach you a word in French or Chinese.

Patricia Pope, K-12 Chinese language and bilingual school vice principal
Challenges are the best opportunities to grow. When your child is facing challenges in their life, the most critical role for parents is to listen and encourage your child to face their fears. If a child is willing to face their fear, they will be prepared to overcome all the difficulties in life.