Tips for a Stress-free Start to the New School Year
Preparation can Prevent Back-to-School Anxiety
- Shop for school supplies early allowing the kids to make choices.
- Begin an early bedtime and daily routine a few weeks before school begins.
Be Aware and Acknowledge Your Child's Concerns
- Take time to listen to your child about any concerns or excitement related to the new school year.
- Remember that meeting new teachers and being in new classrooms may elicit some initial anxiety.
- Explore ways to make the transition positive.
Do a Trial Run:
- Visit the building and show them where they’ll be dropped off and picked up each day.
- Meet with the teacher and see the classroom ahead of time.
- Share the daily schedule in advance, when possible.
Create a Good-bye Routine to Reduce Seperation Anxiety
- Good-bye routines are comforting to children and help them understand and prepare for what will happen next.
For young children:
- Give your child a kiss on the palm to “hold” all day long (A great book for this is The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn).
- Sing a special song together before they go to school.
- Give your child a card or small item (teddy bear, label, pin or picture of family) that they can take with them the first day of school.
Be an Advocate for Your Child:
- If you see your child struggling , communicate with his or her teacher and develop a plan together.
- Help your child set limits with extracurricular activities. Sometimes children can get over scheduled, creating extra demands for the whole family.
- Everyone in the family needs to practice balance in their lives. When parents can model this it sets a good example.
Create Homework Strategies:
- Develop a plan with your child so they know when to focus on homework and assignments.
- Give positive feedback.
- Keep in touch with teachers.
Cherish Family Meal Time:
- Research from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse shows children are less likely to smoke, drink or do drugs when they regularly eat meals with their family.
During meal time, turn off the TV and all electronic devices and have everyone share about their day. Some good questions are:
- Tell me three things you liked about your day
- Tell me three things you didn’t like about your day
Monitor social media:
- Talk with your teen about internet safety and establish healthy rules for using social media.
- Discuss appropriate cell phone use.
- Limit screen time before bedtime to promote better sleep.
- Check out this great resource about internet safety.