The holiday season is almost over. And there are ‘back to school’ promo packages ringing almost everywhere. For kids starting a new class at the same school, there’s the bittersweet feeling at the end of the wonderful long holiday. For other kids who are changing schools or transitioning from one class to another, there’s the excitement of feeling a little more grown up, and also the fear of the unknown.
The irony of it is that for parents, the concerns are mostly financial. With school fees that come knocking on the door, so much is needed to prepare kids for a smooth transition into new classes.
Whether or not you accustomed to these challenges, knowing what other parents go through will equip you better handle your ‘back to school’ situation. Here are a few of such pressures as well as tips for dealing with them.
New fee schedules
More likely than not, you’ll be paying more (or less) school fees than you paid last year, depending on your child’s new class and the compulsory and/or optional extracurricular activities required at his/her level. Dancing classes are now so passé, and karate is in!
Tip: Ideally, you should already have the fee schedule. But if you don’t, find out from the school what payment plans are available for your financial capacity. Then, proceed to pay accordingly. You should also resist the pressure to sign your kid up for extracurricular activities that are more about prestige than they are about your child’s best interests.
From school kits including school bags, lunch boxes and other personal effects, to books and school supplies; parents have to buy lots of new stuff at the beginning of a new school year. This is often stressful for parents, and fun for the kids too. Your child is now too old for Dora the explorer school bags and is more interested in Ben10 pencil cases.
Tip: Draw up a list of everything you need to buy. Either start buying a few things at a time or set aside a day or two to shop for everything at once. While you don’t have to give in to your kid’s every whim, it’d be nice to get one or two of his/her preferred purchases as well.
Apart from buying educational supplies and personal effects, parents also have to adjust to getting to know new teachers and classmates (or even totally new schools). This will help the kids make similar adjustments. You have to remember that your kid’s best friend is now Mabel, not Tunmise from the last session.
Tip: Get familiar with the school and teacher(s) at least a few days before resumption date. Set up a communication system between you and your child’s teacher(s) for regular feedback. Where possible, you can also get your child to befriend a new classmate before school opens.
New academic schedule
With a new school year comes new academic challenges for both parents and kids.
Tip: Where possible, get the school syllabus/scheme of work and calendar for the new school year. Then, mark your calendar(s) for the important activities and their dates, and research the topics in the syllabus to get familiar with the concepts ahead of your child’s assignments.
Final tip: Create a checklist for all of the above, and tick each one off as soon as it’s done to make sure you forget nothing. And keep loving up on your child, building his/her confidence, and creating open lines of communication.
How ready are you for a new school year?!