School will be starting in just a few weeks! This can be a difficult transition for some students and some parents. Some parents look forward to having their children will be back in school and having a more structured schedule, while others feel sad that their child will be away all day and busy with homework and school activities. Returning to school can be a stressful time for families. Here are some tips that may be helpful for you and your family to help ease kids back into school.
- Begin adding more structure into the last few days of summer. Work on putting younger children to bed 10 minutes earlier each night until they resume a healthy bed time that allows them to wake up refreshed for school in the morning. Older children you may need to help them with starting to wake up a little earlier each morning as well. In addition, ensure that healthy eating habits are being implemented and if possible, begin eating around the time the child will have meals during the school year.
- Plan ahead! Allow the child to buy something special to return to school (i.e. a backpack, a special pen, or folders they get to pick out). Buy a planner for your child and help them fill in their school schedule with their classes and write down any important dates for school activities. If possible, go to the child’s school about a week before classes start so that they can find their classes, make sure they know where bathrooms are, where the cafeteria is, and know how to use their lockers. Lay out clothes and school supplies the evening prior to the first school day. Wake up early on the first day of school to allow enough time to work through any last minute problems. Pick your child up from school on time (arrive a few minutes early) so that your child isn’t anxiously waiting for you.
- Spend quality one on one time with your child prior to school starting. This is especially important for the anxious child. Be able to spend 15 minutes or more with each child every day so that they can have time to ask you questions they may have about starting school or can bond with you prior to them becoming busy with school activities.
- Finish summer projects. Make sure the child’s room is clean and that they have an area ready for them to be able to complete their homework that is quiet and free from distractions. Get school sports physicals done and dental and eye appointments completed prior to school starting, when possible.
- Don’t panic! Having children return to school can cause anxiety for both children and parents. Try to not let your anxiety about your child returning to school upset them. Be empathic, listen, and reassure an anxious child. It may be helpful to let them know you are going to do something special as soon as school is dismissed after that first day. Focus on the fun that the child is going to have in school. Try to get them excited about learning!