Turning School Days Into Golden Days

You can help your children get through their school days with a minimum of tears. Here are some tips toward that end:

Join an adoptive parent support group. Other adoptive parents can provide reassurance and positive feedback to offset pressure you may be receiving about your childís performance from your well-meaning extended family and friends.

Once school has started, show your child that you are satisfied with his or her progress; donít let any stray worries enter your childís head about being a disappointment, or being "good enough" or someone you might "send back".

If your child is having concentration problems in school, give hard, tangible suggestions rather than vague, general ones: "Letís finish chapter 3 and 4 tonight." For instance, rather than, "try and work harder." Set aside specific times at home when your child can talk over problems with you, and suggest that the teacher do the same.

Donít overemphasize your older childís schoolwork, appearance in school, or extracurricular activities in the first few months of school adjustment Ė let developing relationships with peers and teachers take precedence.

Donate books and audio-visual aids about adoption to the school, and keep the librarian updated on good books to add to the inventory.

Volunteer to come into the classroom and talk to the children about adoption related issues. Be sensitive, however, to your childís view of such a presentation. Use the family tree to your advantage. "The family tree issue is a big to-do", says one parent. "Offer to come in and talk about how to do an adoption-sensitive family tree Ė use that to get into the classroom!"

Reprinted from UPCOMING, March/June, 1988
  school and education : strategies for parents