What are your memories of the waning days of summer with the start of the school year on the horizon? For me and many I have talked to, these seemed like dark times with the glimmer of summer draining from every day.
Well, it doesn’t have to feel like that for our children. There are several easy steps that we as parents can do to cut the anxiety and ease our students back to school.
1. Shopping for school supplies isn’t the most enjoyable task, but we should take our children along. Let them have some say in the purchase and they will become excited. One key is to do this several weeks before the start of school. The last minute rushing will only add to a child’s anxiety.
2. A child’s sleep is very important, with 12 hours being recommended nightly. 2 weeks prior to the start of school, move their bedtime to that of the school year.
3. If the summer bedtime routine is different than the school year change it 2 weeks before school. Move their showers, snacks, reading, etc. to help them adjust.
4. As you start to plan for the school lunches, have your student shop with you and make choices. This is a good time to introduce healthy foods, fruits and veggies. With them in on the choices , it will make the healthy options easier to implement.
5. Start your children with schedules and routines as summer ends. There should be times for activities and responsibilities. Children do better when they know what to expect.
6. Schedule a “Family Fun” night each week. Kids see the start of school as the end of fun, but if they know that the good times will continue, their anxieties will ease.
7. A great end of summer activity is making a scrapbook or collage with photos of all the fun things you have done. This shows children that the memories are not finished. As the school year starts, the children look back at the fun and lift their spirits.
8. Help your child to get to sleep. With the added anxiety of school, your child’s sleep can become disturbed. Reading to them or guided imagery are good aids. Have your child close their eyes and talk them through peaceful, relaxing scenes, this will ease them into sleep.
9. If at all possible, visit your child’s school and teachers. This will allow them to see their class, know the teacher and lower the anxiety.
10. Have an “End of Summer Blast”. Invite your child’s friends, have a picnic, pool party, games crafts, the list could go on. Everyone will start school with a new memory.
The key is to gradually transition your child to school. Children feel the tension of an abrupt change, thus making the situation worse.
Make the start of school as exciting as possible, something to be welcomed. Have them take the momentum of a great summer into the new school year.