New teachers, new classes, new friends, new grade, sometimes new school

There are many things to organise like school books, uniforms, schedules, stationery. But do we remember to prepare our children emotionally and mentally?

Getting children prepared for their year gives them confidence and direction. When they are very small it can be simple conversations to start developing the way they think about it.

The Goal is always: Get them thinking: What action do I need to take to get what I want?

Here are a few ideas

1. Develop their Planning Skills

Encourage them to think about what they can expect

Ask your children questions

  • What do they think their teacher will be like?
  • Will their friends be in their class?
  • What if their friends aren’t in their class?
  • What are they looking forward to?
  • Is there anything they are not sure about?
  • Is there anything they are scared of?

Pre-thought and planning gives children the opportunity to prepare themselves mentally and emotionally for what they might expect which gives them a sense of certainty and safety because they have an action plan or a frame of reference to work from. You can lead the conversation and give them ideas of what they could expect. Keep it simple and short. It is also a good idea to hold this conversation afterwards – what did they expect compared to what they experienced.

2. Encourage them to think about what they want

Ask your children what they want for the coming year – getting them to think about what they want also gives them a frame of reference for the actions they take. Sometimes they won’t know, but that is okay, it is all about getting them to think about it. Open a conversation at their level, some children will have a lot to say and others might just need a few ideas. Some might need a few conversations. Listen and assess what each child needs.

  • What would they like for their friends?

If they want to make more friends, you can lead a discussion on what they need to do to achieve this. It could be: notice who is new in the class, say hello to someone they haven’t spoken to before, what questions could they ask them and what would they say about themselves. Notice if they have resistance to this. Allow the resistance and ask them what they need to feel comfortable to try.

  • What would they like for their school work?
  • What would they like regarding their teacher?
  • What would they like regarding their sport or after school activities?
  • What do they like about school?
  • What don’t they like about school?

Getting them to think about what they want develops self-responsibility. It is creating the assumption in their minds that they have the power to make their school life a happy place for themselves

3. Encourage them to take action

When they have an idea of what they want, ask them what they can do to get it. What they want at school is their responsibility. It is our role to facilitate them to go and find out what they need and how to get it, not to do the organising for them.

What do they need to find out? Who can they ask? When can they ask?

Encouraging them to take small action steps even if they are a little nervous is important. This develops their confidence. Some children will go and organise everything and others might need one step at a time. Be patient with them, but don’t rescue them! Sometimes they need to miss out a bit to get the courage to try. If we step in, they won’t develop this courage. Have conversations after they have tried and let them assess how they have done and what else they can do. Notice if your own needs get in the way. Sometimes our needs to have it all organised immediately can stop us from giving them the chance to work it out. It is important for them to do it, even if it takes a bit or a LOT longer.

Small daily conversations about little things are very powerful!! It is these conversations that develop your children’s perceptions, courage and sense of responsibility which ultimately determines their happiness and success.

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