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Never have three simple words had such power over human emotion. To a child, “back to school” signals the end of summer fun and a return to strict rules and schedules and, worse, homework. For the parent, it’s a chance to breathe and regain some sanity.
By mid-August, most parents are deep into back-to-school preparations. Everyone with a school-aged child knows how hectic it all can be. Between the appointments, paperwork and shopping, it’s a wonder anyone survives. With everything that must be done in such a short period of time, parents often overlook how hard going back to school can be on their child.
Preparing children emotionally for a safe, productive and rewarding school year is just as important as completing all those necessary tasks. Having a heart-to-heart with your student could help them let go of anxiety, develop resiliency and, in turn, make them feel better about going back to school.
Here is a list of suggested topics to tackle:
- Ask your child how they feel about returning to school. Discuss their concerns.
- Talk about respectful social interactions, peer pressure and bullying.
- Go over the school’s handbook. Cover the rules so they know what to expect.
- Discuss what your child is expected to learn in his/her grade. Make a general plan for success. Include a daily schedule. Discuss how to balance homework with after-school activity.
- Work together to create a dedicated work space.
- Go over how your child will get to school. Discuss safety concerns. Make sure your child knows where to go each day. If they are walking, get out for a practice run (or several). Discuss what it means to be a safe pedestrian.
- If you have a young child, make sure they know their address and phone number and what to do if they are approached by a stranger.
- Establish a firm bedtime schedule and make a plan for sticking to it.
It doesn’t matter how old you are – starting something new can often be nerve-wracking. Having a good talk about it can make a world of difference. So, if you haven’t already, take some time out from that back-to-school madness to reconnect with your children…you will all be better off for it!