Summer will soon be coming to an end and the more carefree, less structured days will be just a memory. No matter the age of your child, some pre-planning will help ease the transition back to school. Whether your child is leaving for school for the first time or approaching their final year of school, preparing ahead can prevent anxiety and stress.
Our children have faced a lot of changes and challenges over the last couple of years. This can be very stressful to children that have difficulty with change. Others have difficulty with focus and struggle to follow school routines. Knowing where your child is at will give you the ability to help them cope with the upcoming transitions.
Schedules will be getting hectic. What activities will your child be involved in? Do they actually start before the school year? Will you be needing after school care? Will they be changing to a new school? Will transportation methods change this year? What will be the same? What will be different?
In the coming weeks, slowly move back to the schedule you will be following during the school year. This will help your child be ready for that new routine. Being well rested is key to a child’s success in school. By establishing routines a few weeks before school starts, you can ease into those new bedtimes and earlier rising times. Getting that good night’s sleep will come easier when school starts.
Review any school information you have been sent. Buy clothes and supplies early. Involve your children in picking out their supplies and new clothes. This can help them get excited about school. Practice having clothes picked out the night before, backpack ready, and a healthy breakfast planned. These routines can prevent morning chaos. Make note of important dates coming up. Plan to attend your school’s open house and meet the teacher. Having a strong connection with your child’s teacher can help with communication throughout the year.
Your student may be concerned about homework, meeting new people, bullying, adjusting to a new school or new schedule, just to name a few things. Are you unsure about how your child is feeling? Signs to look out for might include unexplained fatigue, sleeplessness, stomach aches, headaches, withdrawal from activities previously enjoyed, or unexplained sadness.
If your child is showing a lack of enthusiasm for going back to school, sit down and talk to them about it. Is something in particular causing them to feel anxious about school? Once you know what is causing the stress or anxiety, you can make a plan with them on how to handle it. Establish methods for coping when they feel overwhelmed.
If you have a new student or younger student you may want to find books about going to school or on how to identify feelings. This is also a great way to encourage literacy. Even if your child is not feeling stressed about school, you will still want to have open communication about your expectations for the new school year. If you have older teens, you will want to discuss your expectations for things like grades, athletics, work or curfews. Talk to them about how to find balance between school, work and life.
You are your child’s best advocate. You can help them feel good about themselves and have a successful school year. If your child needs professional help in making a smooth transition into the new school year, we have therapists available for your needs.