Though the days are still long and warm, the start of September signals the time of year when students prepare for their return to school. Beyond the hustle and bustle of shopping for new clothes and school supplies, most students will also be thinking about the social aspects of school like: Will I fit in? Who will my friend group be?
The focus, it seems, has shifted from academic performance to some very real concerns about navigating the social environment at school. In a recent article published by Jennifer Miller, author of Confident Parents, Confident Kids, she states that parents are also more concerned about their child’s emotional well-being. With more and more studies being published about the rise of anxiety and depression among students, Miller’s article offers concrete suggestions for getting children emotionally prepared for the start of school.
These suggestions include practical tips for parents and caretakers to foster social-emotional maturity as they move through school, and ultimately, life. She recommends that we model and discuss positive alternatives to manage stress, frustration and uncertainty. In the early years, it is helpful to share our own feelings and healthy coping mechanisms. This will allow our children to more easily identify their feelings, articulate them when necessary and then have strategies in place to regulate their emotions. She also suggests role play as an effective way to practice rehearsing what to say or how to react in a myriad of social circumstances.
At Kids Helping Kids, we value our volunteers as individuals and provide them with opportunities to develop skills that enhance social emotional development: empathy, problem solving, and confidence. By initiating or participating in a service project, our kids have the opportunity to work with like-minded peers and to feel the impact of their time and contributions. We strive to cultivate an environment of purpose and connectedness.
In an effort to bring more attention to social-emotional development, stay tuned for next week’s blog post on the Pathways to Every Student’s Success.
~ Jennifer Bentley
Kids Helping Kids
Miller, J. (2017, September 1) How to get kids emotionally prepared for school. Parent Toolkit. Retrieved August 22, 2018 from https://www.parenttoolkit.com/social-and-emotional-development/news/back-to-school/how-to-get-kids-emotionally-prepared-for-back-to-school