With the start of the school year upon us, your child’s anxiety, excitement, or overall emotional state may be heightened. It’s important to remember that kids (and parents, too!) need time to adjust to a new routine and a new environment. To help your child prepare for the upcoming school year, try out these three tips to make their introduction into a new classroom as smooth as possible.
1. Minimize the Unknowns
Alleviate some of your child’s anxiety by minimizing the amount of unknowns around the new school year. Talk to your child about the activities you will do together prior to the first day of school, such as visiting their new classroom, meeting the teacher, and maybe even playing on the playground. Introducing the child to their new environment before the first day of school helps make them more comfortable and takes some of the fear of the unknowns out of the situation.
Schools often mail or post itineraries online; take some time to review it with your child and discuss what they’ll learn and what activities they might do this year. You can start integrating some of these activities, like finger-painting, into your end of the summer plans to help get your child excited.
Another great way to alleviate your child’s stress is to talk about your own school experiences – kids love to hear stories from their parent’s childhood. Depending on the age of your child you can make it a casual conversation or turn it into a fun bedtime story. If you’re lucky, this might dredge up some questions, concerns, or excitement from your child about their upcoming year.
2. Plan Ahead
Make a new routine (new bed time, structured meals, etc.) for the upcoming year. Ask your child for their suggestions on daily tasks and use this as a way to engage them in the new routine. Use this as a way to get them started in a routine so the first week of school is not so foreign.
Planning your budget is also very important this time of year. The amount of money spent on new clothes, shoes, and school supplies adds up very quickly. Make sure you plan ahead for these expenses and get creative with how you allocate your money. Give yourself time to go through the closet and see what your little one actually needs, or what you might be able to sell! You can use this same method for school supplies; see what you have that can be reused from last year, or at least until the back-to-school items go on clearance.
MEAL PLAN! With a new routine and a busier schedule, take some time to put together a few meals that you can make ahead of time, freeze, and just have to pop in the oven during that first week of school. Who wants to think about what to make for dinner when you’re already worrying about getting your kid off the bus, trying to get in the groove of the new routine, and making sure your kid’s first week of school is fantastic!
3. Take Time for Yourself
Going back to school is a very stressful for parents as well as children. Make sure you are doing things for yourself that allow you to alleviate some stress.
Some parents like to clear their schedule for the first week of school, others will only work a partial day on the first day of school so they can get their kid ready and on the bus without having to rush. Try to keep your evening schedule clear so you can be home to talk to your child about their school day. No matter what you do, make sure to take the time you need so you can be your best self for your kid during this stressful time.