By Tim Gartz, LCSW
Meeting teachers, starting new classes and reuniting with caring friends after summer holiday is often an exciting time for both children and parents. Parents are quick to welcome a more structured routine while children find joy learning in one of Shanghai’s caring international school communities. With good intentions in tow, we sometimes don’t realize some of the underlying pressures or stress that this time can present. If not handled well, this honeymoon phase may abruptly end as families adjust from the carefree days of summer.
So, what are a few practical ideas that can maximize success at the beginning of school? Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Make the First Day Easier:
Finding ways to connect early on with your
child’s teacher can pay helpful dividends
throughout the year. For returning students, it is recommended to make an appointment with your child’s new teacher(s) during the week prior to class. This is a great opportunity especially since teachers are available without the demands of a full-day teaching schedule and are eager to know more about their students.
If you are new to Shanghai or even moving from one campus to another, it is encouraged to schedule a tour with the admissions office prior to the first day. This can help orient your child to their new campus, preview school classrooms and hear first-hand what a typical day will look like. Meeting key school personnel and even sharing distinct learning needs of your child are usually most welcomed at this stage.
- Learning Tips and Strategies
It is also highly recommended to make sure your child has the correct school uniform, school materials and follows a regular routine. If you have recently returned from international travel recognize the toll it takes on young children as well as teens and emphasize a healthy amount of sleep, nutrition, and self-care. Be mindful of the new schedule and the amount of additional tutorial, learning opportunities and homework that can quickly add up and be challenging to manage. It is critical to strike the right balance and keep a close and watchful eye on your child’s adjustment, confidence and emotional responses to their schedule that are all important indicators of personal health.
Finding joy in the learning process is also best maintained with the support of caring friends and family. Teenagers particularly value their friends yet also find valuable reassurance in parents who show they care about them each day. Finding exciting opportunities to spend time together as a family through sports, the arts, recreation or other activities can add a valuable dimension that proves to enhance the overall school experience. After all, it is the joy found in personal relationships that are most meaningful in life.
As these three areas point out, it is vital to identify what works best for your child to help them maximize their confidence and success. Being proactive, helping your child find value in their online and personal relationships and being engaged in valuable activities that promote a growth mindset, build character and personal skills are perhaps the most essential.