Back to school tips for elementary-aged children

With a new school year approaching - or, for some, getting underway - a local doctor reminds parents that every year is a fresh start.
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 3:05 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - With a new school year approaching - or, for some, getting underway - a local doctor reminds parents that every year is a fresh start.

Dr. Tynisa Giles with Chesterfield County Public Schools, encourages parents to let children be part of the conversation and helping answer questions such as “What does the morning look like?” and “What will be in the bedtime routine?”

Coming up with a theme song in the morning can also be part of the discussions.

“Having music -- if that works for you or for your child -- to kind of motivate them to get the day started,” said Giles, the coordinator of School Social Work Services. “Let them know that school is a safe place. And that’s a conversation to have with every student.”

“Don’t be afraid to drive by the school so they can see the building so they’ll know exactly where they’re going,” she said. “... Let them have a moment with their friends and the community that they’ll be going to school with.”

For younger children, Giles urges parents to talk about expectations and to connect with other families on playgrounds or children who will be in the class.

She also urges parents to provide children with little notes or pictures that they can carry with them.

“If they feel a little lonely about being away from their parents or their siblings, that they can carry throughout the day,” Giles said.

If parents think their children need more support, Giles says to remember that a social worker or a school psychologist may be able to help.

Giles says parents should play board and word games with their children.

“It helps with learning skills and to focus,” she said.

Another thing that will help each day is to pack everything the night before, and have a place for it.

Giles also says it’s a good idea to talk about internet safety.

“I would say the best practice is to have open conversation and dialog about safety with Chromebook,” said Giles. “Even though there are security measures on the Chromebook, you can never have enough conversations about what’s appropriate, what’s not appropriate, and the use of a Chromebook. The daily conversation doesn’t always have to be negative. It can always be positive in regards to how’s everything going.”

Giles says to start the day by showing some motivation and speaking encouraging words to help children feel confident and build their self-esteem. Doing this will help them be prepared to learn.

Coming next week on RVA Parenting: More tips for older children as we prepare for a new school year.

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