Practice Language for Kids Nervous About Social Life
Being nervous about the start of school is normal for a child, but there are a few things you can do as a parent to make the transition easier. The first is to decide whether it’s more likely that your child will be most nervous about the academic or social aspects of school. If it’s social aspects, read the tips below.
Practice Language for Kids Nervous About Social LifeSome kids get nervous because they know it’s going to be difficult reconnecting with friends and adults at school. To prepare kids for returning to school, you can prep them with specific conversations and practice language to use even when they're nervous.
- Put the highlights of the summer into once sentence: “At the start of the summer you did/went _____, then you ___________, and finally you ___________.” This will give your child an easy way to describe the summer to kids and adults.
- Ask your child to name his or her one favorite activity and to say why it was a favorite. Turn this into a sentence, such as: “My favorite thing was _______________ because ________________.” Having a quick response to this question is important because it’s asked so frequently.
- Ask your child to name one “summer bummer” and explain why it was disappointing. Put this into a sentence, such as: “I was disappointed that _________ because ________________.”
- Remind kids of a few things they’re really good at in school, and ask them to practice listing them. This will provide ready answers to questions about what they’re looking forward to in the new grade.
- Remind your child of a few popular playground activities. Go over the biggest rules of the activities, and suggest joining in one of those activities if other kids are playing. If it’s a small group activity, practice joining with a sentence like: “Hey, can I play, too. I love _______.” If no one is playing those activities, suggest asking another child to play by saying: “Hi. I really like to play ________. Do you want to try it?” If the child says no, suggest that your child respond with: “Is there something you really like to play that we could do?”
- Practice a question about the new grade that your child can ask others at lunch, like: “What do you think will be the best part about ___ grade?” or “How much homework do you think we’ll get this week?”
Also prepare some general questions that your child can ask other kids (and adults), like:
- What was the best thing you did this summer?
- Did you go anywhere fun?
- Who did you see most this summer from school?
- Did you see any good movies over the summer?
Are you having trouble getting a straight answer from your child about how school is really going? These 13 conversation starters will get the ball rolling.
Bob Cunningham, the former Head of School for The Gateway Schools in New York City, has been an educational evaluator and a teacher in general education and special education at both the elementary and secondary levels in several school districts. He was also an instructor in the Learning Disabilities program at Columbia Univerity’s Teachers College. Follow him on Twitter at @tfcminds.