Family Matters Blog: First Week of School Survival Guide
By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 30, 2010 – Tensions ran high last week as I loaded up the kids and headed out to drop them off at their new school. After a lengthy and complicated process, we had purchased a home in Maryland, which I wrote about in “Blogger Heads Out on House Hunt,” and now we’re tackling this next hurdle of adjustment.
I wasn’t sure who was more nervous – me or them.
On that first day, we walked down the hall, bustling with kids and parents, and stepped into my son’s new classroom. He unloaded his new school supplies, found his seat and sat there, arm casually draped on the back of the chair, quietly surveying the room to get the lay of the land.
“Bye Mom,” he said with a cool-guy dismissive wave. I opted out of my usual hug and kiss to allow him his 2nd grade dignity.
Off to my daughter’s 3rd grade classroom. She’s much shyer than my son, so I stayed a while until she started chatting with another student, then beat feet for the door.
As I headed down the hall, lined with lockers adorned with brightly colored name tags, I took a huge sigh of relief. The initial entry, the hardest part in my mind, was over. It should all be downhill from here, I hoped.
The rest of the week went fairly well, with a few inevitable rough spots. Each night, I made a point of discussing the day with my children, the pros and cons, and my son invariably would draw a comparison to his old school.
“I liked Waynewood better because …,” he’d begin and then continue on with a detailed description of the better food, nicer friends, less homework, and so on.
I wanted to remind him that he did the same thing when he started at Waynewood two years earlier, but bit my tongue. It doesn’t hurt to vent.
I’ve been learning a lot on this most recent move, the fourth for my children so far. While preparation and organization are vital for a successful first week of school, communication has become No. 1 on my priority list.
I’ve made it a priority to sit down one-on-one with my children to discuss their feelings and concerns these past few weeks. I let them pour out their hearts and then gently steered them toward thinking positive when they start delving too far into the negative.
And I’ll continue to do so until they’re firmly entrenched into their new school. It’s the least I can do after their fourth move in six years.
This move has reminded me yet again of how tough adjustments can be, and given me an even deeper appreciation for military families who tackle these issues every couple of years or so. Moving isn’t easy, particularly when compounded with adjustments to new schools.
I wanted to share some tips I found to help parents successfully navigate the first week of school, courtesy of the National Association of School Psychologists website.
Many of these tips will prove helpful, not only on the first week of school, but year-round.
Back-to-school tips for parents:
For our seasoned movers, if you have any great starting-school tips, don’t hesitate to share.
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