Back to School: Helping Your Child Prepare
The lazy days of summer are a great time for kids and families to relax, rejuvenate and enjoy some “unscheduled” fun! As the summer winds down, the familiar commercial jingles and back to school ads are hard to ignore. Anticipation of “Back to School” and “getting back to routine” can bring up mixed feelings of excitement, eagerness, and worry for kids and parents. For some, back to school can be anxiety provoking. While it’s important to soak up every last bit of summer, getting ourselves prepared for the new school year can help make the transition smoother.
Here a few ways to help our kids feel prepared for September:
1. Get back into routine. With summer comes a more relaxed schedule, and kids can become accustomed to either sleeping in or staying up later. It can be helpful to get back into their “normal” morning and bedtime routine a few days before the start of school so the first day of school isn’t a shock to their sleep cycle.
2. Discuss first day expectations. Not knowing what to expect their first day can make kids feel anxious. Validating and normalizing your child’s worry is important. Having a conversation around classroom or teacher changes, seeing old friends, and making new ones can be helpful.
3. Get them involved in preparation, and allow them to have some control over the process. Some kids get excited by shopping for new school supplies and backpacks. For those kids who dread it, allowing them to choose one or two special items can make the process less painful. But be careful to not go overboard! Sometimes back to school shopping can be overwhelming and we can end up spending a lot of money on unnecessary supplies. Start with the basics and wait to see what else is required as the term progresses. For some kids, choosing their first day of school clothes and laying them out the night before can be fun, and it helps with the morning routine the first day too!
Remember that it is completely normal for your child to feel some anxiety about school. Acknowledging this worry if your child expresses it will be far more helpful than telling them there’s nothing to worry about. Trying out these tips might help calm the jitters, and make you and your child feel more prepared for the coming school year.