Pros offer tips for a successful start to the school year

With the lazy days of summer soon coming to an end, parents and students alike are sharpening their pencils and their minds in preparation for the new school year in Grand County. While every student needs new school supplies, books and school clothes, experts say that steps can be taken to ease the transition for students of all ages.

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) provides parents with a comprehensive list of ways to prepare for back-to-school transitions on its website, www.nasp.org.

Ted Feinberg & Katherine C. Cowan of the NASP, have compiled a list of suggestions to help parents help their kids get back into the school routine.

Before school begins

Feinberg and Cowan say that parents should consider taking the following actions before the school year starts:

• Address all physical and mental health needs before returning to school. Schedule check-ups with health care providers and ask children if they feel prepared for the school year.

• Visit the school with your child before the school year starts to help ease new school anxieties.

• Designate a place for homework so that children will have their own area to complete assignments.

First week of school

During the first week of school, Feinberg and Cowan say, parents can do the following to help their children with the transition:

• “Clear your own schedule,” they said on the website, to reduce first-week tensions and stresses and be there for the students.

• Give plenty of time before and after school so that no one is rushing or running late.

• Familiarize yourself with other school personnel. Many parents make it a priority to meet their child’s teacher, but it can also be helpful to meet office staff and administration.

Reducing anxieties

If the transition becomes difficult, and anxiety arises, the NASP website states, parents can do the following to reduce those anxieties:

• Make yourself available to your child so that he or she can discuss any issues causing anxiety.

• “Reinforce your child’s ability to cope,” the website said, providing a few strategies that the child can use to cope.

• Provide fun activities for the child to unwind and just enjoy life.

Additional resources are listed at the NASP website, www.nasponline.org/resources/home_school/b2shandout.aspx.

Because each child is different and has different needs, parents are encouraged to discuss any transitions with their child, teachers and school personnel. Grand County educators and staff told the Times-Independent that they invite parents to get involved in their students’ education.

ByBy Danny Chandler

staff writer