It is that time of year again. Backpacks are flying off the shelves and new clothes are itching to be worn as we prepare our children for what we hope will be a successful school year. Yet, sometimes even the array of new back-to-school gear is not enough to combat some children's anxiety when it comes to back-to-school jitters.
Many kids can ease into a new routine and for them making friends is easy, while others have a harder time adjusting and may feel overwhelmed by the new schedule and the prospect of new friendships and teachers. Even moms and dads can feel a little anxious at the thought of their child in school and out of sight for the day.
It’s important to recognize these fears and allow your kids to communicate them to you. Often a shy child or a child who may struggle in school can feel uncertain of themselves. As parents, we need to make sure we’re helping them adjust to the changes.
To kick the year off right and to help keep that uneasiness at bay, here are 10 back-to-school tips:
1. Pray together before they go to school.
This will help your child communicate their feelings and concerns. It also can calm them down. Knowing that you care enough about their day to pray with them and that they have prayed to God about their time at school can be a huge stress reliever.
2. Keep up with their day.
Be sure to talk to them about their day before they leave and when they get home: what they are anticipating and what they have to do for school work for the week, how they feel about their teachers, and what they are learning about. The more important they feel their school day is to you the more important they will consider it.
3. Review their homework.
Even if they do not need help with their at-home work, be sure to look it over and show that you care about even the smallest assignments.
4. Do not take it too seriously.
While showing them that you truly care about their school work, be sure to communicate that mistakes are not uncommon and encourage them even when they have a bad day. You do not want school to be too stressful. And while you should take your children’s education seriously, you do not want them to feel they always need to be perfect.
5. Send some love to school.
On the first day of school, when they have a big test, or just because, send a special note in their lunch box, adding a toy or candy, if the school permits it. This will make them smile. It’s a mid-day reminder that they are loved and it can really make a day feel special.
6. Celebrate them.
Some children truly struggle to make passing grades. It can be hard to feel good about yourself when you are always having to work harder than others to keep up with assingments. Show your child that they impress you. If your refrigerator is full of artwork already, keep a folder or scrapbook where you can house your child’s work.
7. Never ignore behaviors.
If your child is suddenly falling behind in school or seems to be showing a personality change, find out why. Sometimes bully victims or a child who is struggling with other issues are afraid to tell or talk about them. You do not want to make the situation worse by causing a scene. The best way to find out how things are going for your child in school, if they won’t tell you themselves, is to call a parent/teacher conference.
8. Do not reveal your apprehension.
School is going to be an important part of your child’s development and as parents it can be hard to entrust our children’s well being to others for the day. Yet, having a positive attitude about your child’s education and learning environment is key. If you are not happy or comfortable with things going on at the school, do not address the issues in front of your child.
9. Make a day or night during the week just for fun.
Having a craft night, movie night, or just a night to go on a bike ride that your child can look forward to can really keep them get excited for a new week. During the week, your schedule is likely jam-packed, taking an hour out of a set night every week to just spend time with your child will also help you feel keyed into their week more.
10. Enjoy it!
A new school year is a new beginning. As stressful as it can be, it is also exciting. Moms and dads of back-to-school children, have a happy and safe year. May it be a year full of smiling faces and successful semesters.
What are some of your back-to-school tips?