Back to School: 5 Things to Ask Your Kids the First Week of School
It’s important for elementary school students to enjoy their very first week of school. There are so many things for them to do and see, and they’ll probably need a little bit of time to settle in. They’re making new friends, getting to know a new teacher, adjusting to long periods of concentration, and learning the new academic material. As a result, it’s a whirlwind week for both student and parent. Some kids adjust better than others, so it’s important for parents to ask a few questions to see if their kids are getting off on the right foot or if they need a little bit of help to transition to being back in the classroom.
1. Ask about the teacher
The most important figure in a child’s life at school is their classroom teacher. Although they’ll talk to adults in the office and on the playground the main school representative is the teacher. If they get on well with their teacher and fall into sync with the classroom schedule, they’ll have a fantastic year and look up to a positive role model. However, if they don’t mesh well with their teacher early on, they might be in for a little bit of a bumpy road. It’s a good idea to find out a little bit about the teacher and their style and get a good read on whether or not your kid likes them. Any misunderstandings can be more easily cleared up if brought up early on (READ: 5 Awesome Online Academic Tools to Use This Fall).
2. Ask to see their textbooks and novels
One way to tell if a student is on track with their assignments is to take a look at their textbooks and novels. If they don’t know where their textbooks are or what pages they need to read for their assignments it’s a sign they may have become overwhelmed with their new workload and the extra organization required at the beginning of the school year. Most schools also offer an online version of the textbook that can be accessed any time regardless of whether or not the student left their textbook at school. Many kids don’t even know they have an online version, so it’s a great idea to ask them to show you their online text and walk you through how to log in and find the right chapter.
3. Ask them when assignments are due
Another great way to find out if an elementary school kid is adjusting well to academic life is to ask them when one of their assignments is due. Many younger kids reply with something like “my teacher hasn’t handed out an assignment yet” or “my new teacher doesn’t give homework.” Of course, this is almost never true, but kids like to try it out anyway. This is a great sign that they probably need help organizing their assignments and getting them done on time. Parents can either email their child’s teacher or ask a study skills tutor to get their kid on track.
4. Ask them who they at lunch with
Some kids are social butterflies, and others are rather shy. It’s so important for students’ social health to make a friend or two, especially if they are starting at a new school. One way to find out if a student has made new friends is to talk about who they have lunch with. Some kids will talk about their ten new best friends while other kids will say they ate alone or shy away from the topic altogether. If parents are unsure if their kids are adjusting well socially, their classroom teacher will be a great resource. They will either be present at lunch or be able to talk to the playground and lunch supervisor to get some information (READ: How to Handle the Stress the First Few Months of High School).
5. Ask them about something they learned in an extracurricular class
Some kids are not incredibly talkative about what goes on in their academic classes, but they’re usually excited to talk about something they learned in an extracurricular class such as art, music, or sports. If kids shy away from talking about English and math, parents might have better luck getting them to chat about something hands-on like building a Paper Mache sculpture or discussing who won at soccer practice.
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