SchoolFamily Voices

Join our bloggers as they share their experiences on the challenges and joys of helping children succeed in school.

5 Ways To Help Young Children With Back-to-School Anxieties

As August approaches, most young students are excited about starting a new school year. They are ready to go. However, some children experience anxiety about going to school. This can affect the entire family. Morning routines can be interrupted and getting him on the bus or dropped off at school can become an ordeal.

Why does this happen? There could be various reasons:

  • Fear of separating from a parent or caregiver
  • Concern that the work will be too hard
  • Fear of missing what’s happening in the family, when they are away at school
  • Worry about responsibilities outside the classroom—for example, getting lunch in the cafeteria
  • Fear that other children might tease or bully them

Here are five easy ways to help your young child ease school anxiety:

  • If the problem is separation from a loved one, try a technique that worked extremely well in my 1st grade classroom. Have the student bring a photo of a family member,  sibling, grandparent, or even a special pet. By keeping the photo on the desk or table, the student was able to have family close by for comfort. Ask your child’s teacher if this is allowed.
  • If possible, bring him to his new class before school starts. Let him see the space and, if the teacher is there, meet his new teacher. Check out the lunchroom and recess areas as well.
  • If you know of another child or children who is going to the same class, see if you could set up a playdate so your child will know at least one familiar face.
  • Have him practice letter recognition and letter sounds, number recognition to 50, writing his name, and other basic skills for academic confidence.
  • Label jackets, lunch boxes, backpacks, etc., so that your child can easily identify her own belongings. This eliminates worry about finding her own things at the end of the school day. (Safety note: Be sure to label items on the inside, as you do not want a stranger to be able to call your child by name.)


Recognizing and acknowledging your child’s fears will help you both look for easy and workable solutions…and keep your morning school routine running smoothly!

> A Stress-Free Morning Routine

> 10 Ways To Help Your Child Successfully Return to School

Continue reading
  7700 Hits
  1 Comment
7700 Hits
1 Comment

Teacher's "Catastrophe Award" to 3rd Grader Stuns, Angers Mother

If the teacher who recently presented an 8-year-old student with a special “Catastrophe Award,” which was delivered to the child in front of the child's entire 3rd grade class, thinks this was funny, I think the teacher needs some classes in appropriate humor. And appropriate behavior.

The teacher, one Mrs. Plowman, who teaches 3rd grade at the Desert Springs Academy in Arizona, gave the award to little Cassandra Garcia, for “the most excuses for not having homework.” The teacher signed the award with a smiley face and her name.

Using a different word, couldn't this be described as bullying?

Cassandra’s mother, Christina Valdez, didn’t see the humor in the award either. At first, Valdez and her daughter were confused, since Cassandra's homework folder was complete, and Valdez said she hadn't been notified by the teacher about any missing homework. But the mother's confusion quickly turned to anger when her daughter said she was humiliated after receiving the award in front of her classmates and all of them laughed at her. And that's when Christina Valdez, called the school’s principal.

Valdez told KGUN-TV in Tuscon that when she complained to the principal, “… she blew me off. She said it was a joke that was played and that the teachers joke around with the children.”

Some education experts interviewed by the TV station and asked to comment on the “award” agreed with Valdez—that this was no laughing matter and that any such negative award was detrimental, especially to a child that age.

Personally, I think this was appalling and an utterly unacceptable gaffe on the teacher’s part. What was she thinking? What do you think? Couldn't this qualify as bullying?


Continue reading
  3731 Hits
3731 Hits

Do you allow your children to watch TV or play on the computer before doing their homework?

Yes - 31.6%
Sometimes - 25.4%
No - 37.4%

Total votes: 4919
The voting for this poll has ended on: June 25, 2016