Educators stress importance of helping young students transition back to school
COLUMBIA – Education experts said there are signs parents should look out for as students make the back-to-school transition. Parents should take note if their child acts more withdrawn or experiences changes in sleeping or eating habits.
"Sometimes there are changes in mood. Maybe they are more angry. Sometimes there are changes in friends and often times we see reduction in academic achievement, grades or desire to do their academic work," said MU education professor Chad Rose.
Many students have not been in a classroom environment for months and this can lead to heightened stress and classroom issues. MU professor Chris Riley-Tillman said it is important to establish good habits in the beginning of the school year.
“Schools that remind kids how to behave in a school environment tend to be more successful than ones that expect kids to remember,” Riley-Tillman said.
Solid communication between parents and children is vital. Rose said parents can help their children by simply talking with them.
“Have a conversation. Don't just ask kids if they had a good day,” Rose said. “Ask specific questions. Each time my daughter gets in the truck, I ask her what made her laugh today.”
It is important to have a school-parent partnership, Rose said. Parents should try to communicate with their child's teachers if they think their child is having difficulties in the classroom, he said.
Rose said it is important to make a child's time at school enjoyable to motivate learning.
“Work with the schools to identify something the student does like and imbed it in the daily curriculum. That way they increase their desire to go to school because it’s something they enjoy,” he said.
Classroom issues can arise when students are not experiencing success in the classroom.
Riley-Tillman said, “If a kid is experiencing academic failure, they are not going to like school or behave well. We want kids to be successful, and then they will enjoy school.”