We are past the Labor Day weekend, so that means school is in full swing across most of the United States. Full backpacks, bagged lunches, and new clothes are on the minds of most parents and kids. Then comes homework, parent nights, and before you know it you’re talking Halloween costumes with your children. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and energy of school starting, but it’s also important to take a step back and ask some important questions – especially for adoptive parents. Whether you have recently adopted or your child is just entering a new school or school for the first time, we have tips on important conversations to have at the start of the school year.

Conversations with A New Teacher

Source: Flickr, US Dept. of Education

If your child starts this year with a new teacher (especially if this teacher is new to you or the school), be sure to send an email or stop by before or after class to chat with your child’s teacher. If you don’t want to disclose the nature of your conversation, that’s absolutely ok. But you can ask the teacher about any upcoming assignments that surround family trees, stories of the child’s family, or early memories. This way you have a chance to prepare any necessary conversations that you may need to have with your child. These are particularly important questions for adoptive parents of slightly older children.

What to Say to your Child

Source: Flickr, Phil Roeder

If there is a project coming up in the school year that covers family stories or genealogy, then be prepared to talk to your adoptive child about his or her story. Depending on your child’s age, this talk doesn’t have to discuss all of the details. But it is a great chance to lay the foundation of having deeper talks as your child gets older. And it helps prevent discomfort for your child if they are aware that their story is unique and they get to tell their story in their own words.

Make a Plan

Perhaps the most important aspect of a new school year is to make a plan. Talk with your family and spouse about how you want to talk about the adoption process before there isn’t time to communicate these preferences. Questions can pop up, and usually do, at inconvenient moments and with no warning. So be ready and get your family on board, too. Having a plan in place will help ease anxiety and make for a smoother and more successful school year.