Back to school season can be both exciting and stressful for children and parents. New teachers, new classmates, starting in a new school – this can all seem overwhelming and even a little scary. Here are some practical ideas for getting the new school year off to a positive start.
Chances are you and your family have strayed from school year routines over the summer. A week or two before school starts, get back to specific bedtime and wakeup schedules. Start having breakfast and dinner at the same time you will during the months ahead to get the familiar rhythm going. Reestablishing these routines will go a long way toward easing the transition back to the school year.
Get your children engaged with the coming year by shopping for school supplies together. Many schools provide a list of required supplies; take the list on your school shopping trip and let your kids help find the items in the store. Depending on the child’s age, your shopping trip can provide an opportunity to brush up on math skills – for example, studying quantities and prices to determine what the best deals are.
If you don’t yet have a designated homework area, establish one this school year. It could be the kitchen table or island, dining room, or a home office space – whatever you choose, it should be a quiet place with minimal distractions while work is being done. Be sure to communicate the importance of completing homework assignments. Many schools post homework assignments online so that both parents and students can keep track of what needs to be done and when.
Once school starts, ask your child daily about what they learned and how they feel about how school is going. Doing this allows him or her to voice any concerns, whether related to other students, teachers, or the trip to and from school. Asking consistently may make your child more inclined to open up to you about issues that are on his or her mind.
Be enthusiastic! If you show genuine interest and excitement about starting the new school year, there’s a good chance your children will feel that way, too. Keep your positive attitude going as the year goes on – children need to know that you’re supportive and interested in their progress and activities. With encouragement from you, they will continue to grow and thrive.