How do parents help kids adjust to going back to school? There’s no adjustment necessary for kids who like school as the place to learn, to play and to cultivate friendships. I have been helping my wife with a set of triplets, our grandchildren who live with their older sister and us. The triplets will be transitioning to middle school and the oldest sibling will be a sophomore in high school.
At the risk of sounding ridiculous, I must say that as much as I have enjoyed having them at home this summer, my 77-year-old wife and I, soon to be 78, will be happy to see them off. I will drive the oldest to high school, and then we will wait for the bus with the triplets. With three at one stop, the bus will stop in front of the house. We are lucky that way.
The children are already life-long learners. My wife and I read a book about every other week. All the kids are big time readers. When the kids come home, I help to tutor them with whatever assistance I can render. We started out when they were in kindergarten. As a former teacher, I have some appreciation for the difficult task that teachers have, and I also have an appreciation for the tremendous task that students have fulfilling their homework obligations.
A very smart lady taught me one of the most important lessons regarding children and learning. It was at UCLA. Her view is that in order for a child to learn, the child must first want to learn.
In weighing their choices, if it were a choice, many kids would rather extend their summer vacation into the fall and then turn it into a trendy thing with one vacation falling into another, something akin to the Christmas season playing spoiler to the fall season in some major department stores.
Kids who are actually eager to return to school have also taken to summer vacation as an extension of school. Inner city kids interested in learning have been attending summer school at our local suburban university. Our children have been attending school in the form of play sessions where they have focused on the arts for most of the summer. Travel has been part of their education as well.
They are looking forward to middle school, the triplets are. Their sister is looking forward to high school, her studies and her activities and her friends whom she has been seeing all summer long.
When school is viewed as beneficial, there is no adjustment necessary. In many school districts, less so in ours, many students will see returning to school as a renewal of the social hours-school as a place to go to interact with friends in a relatively safe environment while parents are at work and safe places, to do things in, shut down or adjust their hours to match with schools in session.
When students enjoy learning and look upon school work as challenges to be met and overcome successfully because they, the students, are learning something new and quite exciting to learn every day of the week in a positive social milieu, learning is seen as a beneficial experience. Going back to school is not the trauma that some experience, it is the challenge that kids expect and accept as part of growing up.