Back-to-school tips for elementary school kids

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) — As a new school year approaches — or, for some, underway — a local doctor reminds parents that every year is a fresh start.

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

Finding a theme song in the morning can also be part of the discussions.

“Having music — if it works for you or your child — to get them motivated to start the day,” said Giles, the school’s social work services coordinator. “Let them know that school is a safe place. And it’s a conversation to have with every student.

“Don’t be afraid to walk past the school so they can see the building and know exactly where they’re going,” she said. “…Let them spend some time with their friends and the community they will be going to school with.”

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

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

“If they’re feeling a little lonely being away from their parents or siblings, which 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 school psychologist may be able to help.

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

“It helps with skill building and focus,” she said.

Another thing that will help you every 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 an open conversation and dialogue about security with Chromebook,” Giles said. “Even though there are safety measures on the Chromebook, you can never have enough conversations about what’s appropriate, what’s not, and using a Chromebook. The everyday conversation shouldn’t always be negative. It can always be positive in terms of how everything is going.

Giles says starting the day by showing motivation and saying encouraging words to help kids feel confident and build self-esteem. This will help them prepare to learn.

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

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