Despite the joke that many parents are relieved at the start of the school year, it can also be a challenging time. With the mile-long school supply list, schedule changes, and overall cost, it can seem like a lot on your plate all at once.
Yet, it’s not just challenging for parents. Children can experience anxiety and back-to-school jitters as well.
Whether your child is heading to school for the very first time or a school-age novice, they may feel nervous about the upcoming school year. Therefore, as the first day of school approaches, it’s important to help alleviate your children’s anxiety.
Here are a few practical ways to help your child get ready for going back to school.
1. Start a Solid Bedtime Routine
Summertime patterns tend to be a bit more laid back in comparison to the constant school year hustle. To get your household back in the rhythm of a new school schedule, implement a bedtime routine before school starts.
It’s a good idea to start this routine a week or so before you need it to be functioning properly. By getting your child into a solid groove early, you can avoid them battling fatigue from an unfamiliar wake-up time.
2. Practice the Morning Pattern
In addition to beginning a bedtime routine, another great idea is to practice how your mornings need to go. When you rehearse this sort of drill, your child will know exactly what to expect each day.
Mornings are usually the most harried part of the day. If anxiety or negative emotions are going to surface, it will probably happen early in the day.
To help your child start the day anxiety-free, practice your morning pattern. Of course, your morning won’t flow flawlessly, but having a routine will help to eliminate the most common stressors.
3. Review What They Can Expect
Children have a way of concocting various (and sometimes scary) scenarios in their minds. Especially if your child is headed to school for the first time, it may seem frightening to them.
In the case of a new student, it’s important to talk about what they can expect from school. Read books about school experiences. Visit the classroom and talk to their teacher. Check out textbooks from the library to get them used to the format.
The unknown can be intimidating. The more familiar your child becomes with school experiences, the more confident they’ll be facing a new school year.
4. Open Up About Feelings
As you’re talking with your child about what they can expect from school, encourage them to open up about how they feel, too.
For example, how do they feel about the other children that will be in their class this year? Or, are there any subjects that they don’t feel comfortable with?
Furthermore, ask your child open-ended question that will motivate them to keep talking. They might be feeling anxious and not know why. Talking it out often helps them to process their emotions.
5. Rehearse Confidence-Boosting Skills
Plenty of skills—social, communication, problem-solving—can help to boost your child’s confidence. These types of life skills can make interactions with others a more positive experience. Unsurprisingly, positive interactions make the classroom experience much more pleasant as well.
Furthermore, building your child’s skillset prepares them for independent thinking so that they don’t have to call on you or their teacher to work through every little issue.
To instill certain skills, it’s vital to rehearse them at home. Make it a point to encourage your child to solve specific problems that they face. Be a good example of effective communication as well. When they see you using these skills, they’ll better understand why it’s important to use them as well.
For parents and children alike, going back to school can be exciting and challenging at the same time. If you’d like support navigating the new school season, please reach out to us today.
Please click here to learn more about our services: Play Therapy