You had a fun and flexible summer break, right? Perhaps you are longing for some structure again? Either way, it’s back-to-school time, parents and caregivers! Ready or not, your child is heading back to school to begin a new year of learning with a new teacher and classmates.
Since your child is entering the puberty years, here are six tips for a successful start to the new school year for your growing child:
Meet the teacher.
Ask your child’s teacher for a meeting, in person, if possible. This is a great opportunity to get to know each other and build that partnership early.
You know your child better than anyone, so tell your child’s teacher about your child. Be sure to explain any specific needs regarding your child’s learning or any trauma the teacher should be aware of. This will help the teacher tailor the teaching to meet your child’s needs and interests.
Be an ally.
Educators work hard to help children succeed; yet, they have been underappreciated and even attacked in recent months. Let your child’s teacher and school principal know that you support them. Let them know you appreciate them teaching puberty education as part of the curriculum.
Learn about puberty education.
Ask how, what, and when puberty education will be taught in your child’s class. Ask what you can do to prepare your child before the puberty lessons are taught. Advocate for more comprehensive and inclusive puberty education if the curriculum is lacking or outdated.
Prepare for puberty.
Begin reading about puberty with your child soon. Children are less self-conscious if you begin conversations before they begin puberty and the conversations are ongoing. Reading about puberty can be a helpful preparation for the puberty education that will take place at school. Look at these puberty book lists for options.
Teach your child.
Talk to your child about bodily autonomy and consent. Begin by teaching about consent for using possessions, then about touch. With your child, practice what to do if they or someone they know is being bullied or abused in some way. For helpful tips, read my blog post on consent. For a fun video to watch and discuss, watch Consent for Kids.
Parents and caregivers, I hope these back-to-school tips are useful. Have a great new school year! I hope it is full of learning, growth, and happy moments for you and your child.