Tips for Sending Kids Off To School

Barefoot Books

 As a piano teacher for over 15 years now, it seems I find myself, especially around this time of year, busily hurrying about, gathering up lesson books at the teacher store, cleaning up my music studio a bit and ordering popular sheet music and theory books for returning piano students as well as welcoming aboard new ones.

About this time, from late August to early September, that's when all the schools here in California begin, whether you attend a public, private or charter school. And so my heart begins to race as my mind is flooded with past memories that identify with that universal feeling as a parent, as well as a grandparent of letting go of your child or grandchild into the hands of a new teacher that will help mentor and guide your child through a new school year of great things to learn and much interaction with other children.

It seems like it was just yesterday that I was waving goodbye, all teary-eyed to our daughter as she boarded the big yellow school bus and was headed for kindergarten. Now she will soon be expecting her new little baby of her own. As I pour myself another cup of coffee, I think back to the time my own mother gave our first born daughter her first car and how I felt my heart breaking as she drove off to Stanford to complete her education and embark on a wonderful, exciting bright future of world travel, wonderful teaching jobs and meeting her future husband. It all seems like yesterday and now she's a proud mother of 2 charming, sweet boys.

As I tend to live life more and more in the present, I was thinking of what I could possibly share with my readers in the upcoming weeks and decided that the obvious coarse of action would be a series of future posts that serve as a bridge for preparing you and your child for back to school... where you are now and where you will be headed this Fall. I would like to introduce my readers to a new children's book from Barefoot Books that captures the heart and essence of "Back to School" and what that means and feels like to your child. Children are indeed a real blessing.

Packing Backpack, Lunchbox, and Confidence: Tips for Sending Children Off to School

It happens every autumn. Millions of young children start school for the very first time. They carry backpacks, lunchboxes, pencils, sometimes a grin on their face, but more often, a look of trepidation about what school will really be like. They wonder: Will my teacher be nice? Will I have friends? What if I can’t find my way? Who will sit with me? What will I do? What if I don’t like it? What if I miss home? What if it’s too hard?
As parents guiding our children off to start school for the first time, or to begin a new school year, we want to do all we can to ensure that they have a great experience. At the same time, we want to encourage their independence as they set off on a new journey in their development.

Kathryn White, author of Ruby's School Walk, early educator and mum of five children, shared her tips to ease children's start-of-school anxiety and make this an enjoyable milestone:

  • Read with your child and talk about the school experience. Share with them stories about your memories of school, both the good and the less so. School is an adventure, and like all adventures, has its ups and downs.

  • Help spark your child’s imaginations about school to encourage them to talk about their concerns and face their fears. You can do this through stories, books, drawings and other art forms. Ask them questions such as what they think school will be like, what they are excited about and worried about, what they think they will learn, etc. These conversations can also be had with grandparents and other favorite people in your child’s life.

  • Build a community in your neighborhood. It is amazing what a familiar and friendly face can do to help a child overcome their fears about going to school. As your family journeys to school each day you might see this friendly neighbor, or only see them occasionally, but it will help your child feel comfortable and safe on their trip to school.

  • Sit down together and create a fun map to school. Note interesting landmarks and have your child colour them in or place numbers at each point. On that first morning to school, your child will be pre-occupied with ticking off the landmarks on their special map. The school can be drawn with welcome signs, making it a great triumph upon their arrival.

  • Walk with your child to school whenever possible. If you don’t live nearby, take public transport, bike or drive and get out a few blocks away and walk together. The walk will become a meaningful way to spend time together and help get the day off on the right foot.

  • Create traditions. Take pictures of your child in front of your home or on their way to school. Each year you can reflect back on these first day of school photos and see how much your child has grown in every way.

  • Know that if the first day went well or didn’t go well, there are many more days of school throughout the year and peaks and valleys along the way.
    Here's some information on this delightful children's book:

    Ruby’s School Walk

    Join Ruby on her way to school and see the world her mum cannot see. In an old house, she spies bats with red eyes peering out and scary witches that flit about. And these aren’t the only dangers on her path: tigers, crocodiles and mighty beasts abound! ‘I must be brave, I must be strong,’ chants Ruby as she musters the nerve to scare them off; but will it work?
    Ages 4 to 7 years
    Written By: Kathryn White
    The author has written over a dozen children’s books, but Ruby’s School Walk is her first with Barefoot Books. She often visits libraries and schools leading interactive workshops with her books. To learn more about Kathryn and her work, visit her website.

    Illustrated By: Miriam Latimer
    Miriam is a full-time illustrator who also combines her love of art with workshops for young children. She has illustrated five Barefoot Books, including bestseller The Prince’s Bedtime and Shopping with Dad. Her quirky, colorful art is usually done in acrylic paints, but she also uses pencils and a bit of collage. To learn more about Miriam and her work, visit her website.
    I love Miriam's artwork. Here are a few more samples of her talent.

    Ice cream
    Miriam's Books
    Buy a book, build a library!
    To purchase Ruby's School Walk, Hardcover Format for $16.99, visit:  My Marketplace

    A Look Inside Ruby's School Walk with Kathryn White and Miriam Latimer (Barefoot Books)

    I hope your child’s first experience with school is part of their magnificent journey of growing up!
    Happy Reading,
    -- LadyD
“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.” — C. S. Lewis

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