How to get kids ready for stress of starting school

Experts: Reducing stress at home enables kids to learn better in class

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Getting kids ready for the first day of school should start now, according to doctors and doing so is less about math and English and more about what your kids are experiencing. There are some new recommendations on what you can do in your home to get kids ready for kindergarten.

The American Academy of Pediatrics found too many kids aren't ready for the social, emotional and behavioral demands of school. Doctors say it starts at birth. 

Fewer than half of kids below the poverty line are ready for school at 5 years old compared to 75% of children from moderate or high-income households.

Children who have had two or more traumatic events like abuse or neglect, experience violence in the home or are separated from a parent are more than 21/2 times more likely to have to repeat a grade than peers without those experiences.

The report said pediatricians should intervene and work with families early by:

  • Helping families incorporate daily activities that strengthen language
  • Educating parents about normal development and behavior and how to address concerns 
  • Screening for risk factors, including things like toxic stress in the home and neighborhood
  • Pushing for quality early childhood education 

Early childhood education programs can help close the gap created by poverty and other toxic stressors, according to doctors. It can help children, who are born into a circumstance they can't control, still achieve the same as their peers who don't have the same challenges from birth. 

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