Back to School Tips to Ensure Success

Even though we're still in the full swing of summer, the time for kids to head back to school will be here before you know it. And while the idea of heading back to school can bring a wide range of emotions for parents and kids alike, it can be especially trying for foster youth. With that in mind, we've compiled our top tips to help ensure a smooth transition. 

Get them excited about new opportunities

School starting up again means new opportunities for sports, clubs, after school programs, and other fun activities. Set some time aside to talk about the programs available and outline some options. Learning about their interests and exploring the options available will help them feel excited about the new year ahead. 

Check in with their new teacher 

Teachers won't automatically know they have a student that's in foster care, but disclosing this fact can help ensure their success. By privately sharing this information with your child's teacher, they'll be better equipped to help them do well in class.

Volunteer at their school

As a foster parent, when your child is home during the summer, you're available to help them manage stress and form positive habits. If the school offers volunteer opportunities and your schedule allows it, you might consider lending a hand in classroom. Your presence can often help ease their anxiety, and if a situation arises, you'll be on hand to offer your assistance.

Make sure they get enough sleep 

As the school year gets closer, start transitioning to an earlier bedtime. This way when school starts up again, they'll have an easier time waking up early, while still getting plenty of sleep.  

Have a discussion about bullying

An unpleasant topic, but a necessary one. Although most schools have measures in place to curb this kind of behavior, it's still a prevalent problem. By opening a dialogue with your child about the different ways bullying can manifest and how to handle it, they'll know what to look out for and be more inclined to come to you if and when it happens. 

Visit the school ahead of time

Consider bringing them to the campus before school begins, so they can walk around, check it out, and become familiar with the new environment. 

Focus on the future

Although they're experiencing a challenging time in their life, it's important for foster youth to understand that while they can't change the past, they can take control of what lies ahead. Encourage them to explore new hobbies and extracurricular activities to discover what they're passionate about. By thinking ahead and setting goals for the future, they'll build confidence and strengthen their agency and autonomy.

Want more back to school tips? Check out our roundup from 2018!