DIY: Free Social Skills!

Soar in School

The start of school can be a tough time. Kids go from swimming, staying up late, and playing outside all day to sitting in a desk all day. As the school year approaches, here are three tips to make sure kids soar through the school year!

1) Making Introductions
What seems obvious to adults often needs to be explained to children to make their social interactions run smoothly. Set the expectation that they should introduce themselves to students they don't already know. Give examples using different scenarios. In a classroom, they should look at the student and say, "Hi, my name is Annie. What's yours?" On the playground, they should approach a student who is all alone and say something similar. Help them come up with some follow-up questions.

Encourage your child to try them out in advance and choose what makes them comfortable. Examples: "Did you go to Pinckney Elementary School last year?" or "Do you have a dog or a cat?" or "Do you know many people who go to this school?"

Stay Connected
Acknowledge your own feelings as well as theirs, and model for your child what will help. You might say, "When I miss you, I'm going to touch this pebble in my pocket. You can do the same. Let's make sure there are pockets in the clothes you wear to school."

Or...

"I am feeling really anxious about driving you around to all of your activities after school this year, and it would be helpful is you were organized and ready. What can we do to make sure that happens?"

Tackle Worries and Fears
Whether kids are thrilled to be starting school or not, it's normal to experience some anxiety over what a brand new school year will bring. It helps when adults provide acknowledgement and practical strategies for coping with these pressures.

Pick a time to talk with your child about any worries they may be having about the beginning of the school year. Write down the worries and talk about each in turn. "So, you are worried about finding your classroom?" "I see you are worried that nobody will like you." Sort the worries into two stacks—can do something about/can't do anything about. Put each in a separate jar or bowl. "You can't control whether people like you—except to be your wonderful self!" but, "You certainly can find out where your classroom is before the first day of school."

 

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