It is difficult to believe that September is rapidly approaching! Soon the lazy days of summer will be a distant memory. Our job now, as parents, is to prepare our children for their transition back to school. This transition is harder for some children than others. Starting the process early, by easing back into several fall routines, helps prepare your child and yourself. Here are a few suggestions that are helpful in combating fall/school anxiety and stress.
- Have a solid bedtime routine – Children do best when they know what to expect and what is expected of them. Summer bedtimes are generally later than the child’s fall bedtime. Start the bedtime routine a little earlier each night. Set up bath time, reading together and bed time now, so that by the beginning of school, regular bedtimes are re-established. Of course, your child’s bedtime is a personal decision and one that will be reflective of their age. Just remember that when your child is negotiating for more awake time, a sleepy child cannot learn to their full potential.
- General evening routine– Empower children to play a part in making their life and yours a little easier. Let them help choose and set out their clothes for the following day. To build independence children should pack their own backpacks with a parent check. Doing more at night will ensure a more relaxing and less stressful morning. It’s always better for everyone to start the day with the right attitude and a smile.
- Develop a morning routine – Wake your child with enough time to eat a healthy breakfast. Discuss healthy food choices and let your child help comprise the shopping list for their breakfast, lunch and snack items. Also review the school menu, ensuring that if your child buys lunch, there is something they will eat and enjoy. You do not want your child to be distracted by hunger during the school day. An older child can begin displaying more independence in the morning. Set or have them set their alarm clock. Encourage them to get themselves out of bed, washed, dressed and ready for breakfast. Of course, verbal reminders to move the process along will be necessary.
- Celebrate the beginning of school – Make the start of school an exciting time, rather than a dreaded one. Buying new clothes is always fun! Also, let your child select their own backpack and participate in buying school supplies when possible. A little get together for friends, who were out of sight this summer, is a great way to get reacquainted. It relieves some social stress for the upcoming first day of school.
- Talk– School for your child may not have always been a positive experience. Remind your child that this is a new year and lots of good things are about to happen. Let them know you have confidence that they will always do their best and you are proud of them!! Make sure they know that their teachers are there to help them! Always remain positive when talking to your child about their teacher, school etc., even if you do not always feel that way. Children will react negatively if you do.
- If possible, meet your child’s teachers – All teachers receive reports about their incoming students, but whenever possible, meeting your child’s teacher in advance relieves your anxiety. Take this opportunity to discuss your child’s likes and dislikes, any health issues/needs, best method of communication and any other pertinent information.
Taking a deep breath and implementing a few easy steps, will help you and your child get off to the new school year with the perfect attitude.
Wishing you and your children a great year! !! Enjoy all the wonderful learning adventures that await!!!
If you are unable to implement all of these strategies, prioritize the steps to make it work you. For additional support on developing schedules and routines in your home please email Danielle Meyer at DEMTutoring@gmail.com. Tutors can provide an unbiased and professional approach to routine development in the home.