It’s that time of year again … time for new backpacks, scouring the aisles to fill the supply list and bracing yourself for the return of hectic morning schedules. It’s back-to-school time!
In the mad dash to check everything off the to-do list, don’t forget to check in with your child. Take time to talk with your child about what to expect. Get prepared. Set a routine. Address any fears your child may have about the new school year. Doing these things can make the transition to a new school year less stressful for everyone.
To further reduce stress and to start the school year off in a positive light, here are…
10 helpful tips for parents:
- Talk with your children about what to expect throughout their school day, including how they will get to and from school and what types of activities they will participate in. This is especially important if they’ve never attended school before or are attending a new school.
- Visit the school in advance and take advantage of any opportunities for them to meet the teacher before the first day of class. Find out if there are other children or friends they know who will attend the same school or be in their class.
- Prepare older children for the idea of changing classes and having different teachers throughout the day if this is something that will be new to them.
- Avoid the last-minute time crunch. Shop for school clothes and school supplies ahead of time. Children can sense when parents are stressed or overwhelmed and, in turn, may decide they too should be worried about things. Checking off everything on your to-do list in advance will not only reduce your stress level, but will allow your child to approach the start of school with less anxiety.
- Schedule any required physical exams and immunizations a few weeks before school starts.
- Gradually return to schedules that are more consistent the week before school starts. Reduce daytime outings to friends’ homes, movies, etc.
- Say goodbye to those summer sleepovers and return to consistent bedtime routines that allow children to start each school day well rested.
- Begin consistent dinnertimes again and communicate your expectations for after-school routines involving homework, practices, chores, etc.
- Talk openly with your children about their feelings, fears and worries. Never discount your child’s feelings. Although they may seem insignificant to an adult, a child’s fears are very real to them. Take time to sit and problem-solve any situation your child is concerned about.
- Role-play with your child about what they can do in a particular situation they may be worried about. Being supportive and letting children know you have confidence in their ability to successfully overcome any challenge will help boost their confidence and will get them off to a better start!
Andrea Schultz has specialized in counseling services for children, adolescents and families for more than 25 years. She received her Master’s degree in Counseling from the University of North Texas. Andrea is a Licensed Professional Counselor, has completed advanced training as a Registered Play Therapist and holds advanced licensure as a board-approved clinical supervisor.