Prepare for School
It’s that bittersweet time of year when summer ends and school begins. And whether it’s more bitter or more sweet for you, there’s one thing that is certain—it’s time to prepare for the school year ahead. Maybe it’s your child’s first year in school, or maybe it’s their last. Either way, it’s never too late to make this year a great one. Below are a few tips to make the year ahead run a little smoother.
- Battle First Week Anxiety
Even if your child is a senior in high school, they’re still going to face some unknown as the school year begins—new classes, new teachers, new math subjects, etc. No matter what grade your child is headed towards, it’s a great idea to have a heart-to-heart with them during the first week of school. You may be able to eliminate some stressors you didn’t even realize they had. Below are a few things you can ask your child during the first week of school:
- “What school subjects are you excited for this year? What subjects are you nervous about?”
- “Who do you like to hang out with at school? Do you have any classes with them?” or “Who do you play with at recess?”
- “What are your goals for this year?” (This can include both academic and social goals.)
- “How are you feeling overall about the new school year? Excited or nervous? Why?”
- “How can I help you feel more prepared for the school year?”
- Create a Routine
Though it can be difficult to follow a routine after a summer of flexibility, routines are important for keeping children on track during the school year and can even offer comfort to children with school anxiety. Here are some ideas:
- Let your child help pack their own lunch and include foods they are excited about. Consider buying snacks that are only for school lunches so that your child has something to look forward to that is only associated with school. Click here for some healthy school lunch ideas.
- Encourage your child to lay their school outfits/supplies out the night before school. This way the early morning rush becomes less hectic.
- When your child arrives home from school, refrain from immediately asking them about school subjects or homework. Instead, say something like, “It’s great to see you!” so they have a moment to decompress. Children need a school/life balance just like adults need a work/life balance.
- Allow your child to take a break and play after school before they start their homework. Exercise is vital to their mental health. Click here for some child-friendly exercise ideas.
- Be Sure to Check Your Own “Mental Temperature”
Children are not the only ones with back-to-school anxiety. As a parent, you may be stressing about your child’s ability to make friends, your child’s difficulty with school subjects, your child’s safety, etc. Click here for some healthy coping mechanisms for stress.
Below are a few sources for helping your child stay on track:
- “What to Do if Your Child is Falling Behind in School”
- “What to Do if My Child is Being Bullied”
- “Childhood is Changing”
- “10 Tips for Keeping Your Kids Safe in School”
- “Overcoming Test Anxiety: Steps & Strategies”