After a busy but carefree summer the transition back to school can stir up some anxiety in your child. It is well-known by many parents that after being settled in a routine for a long period of time, changing to a new routine can be chaos. With some help from mother and author Chynna Laird, I have put together a list of strategies to help the whole family ease into the back to school routine as stress-free as possible.
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1. Talk about it
A few weeks in advance, start to have a few discussions about the summer coming to a close and starting a new year at school. Start with a short, vague discussion to get it on their radar but as it gets closer to their first day of school have a more detailed discussion. Minimize anxiety by minimizing any surprises.
2. Make a calendar
Your child can keep track of how many days left till school if it is clearly marked on a calendar. Put it in an area that everyone sees everyday, like the kitchen. This will help him or her feel some control over getting prepared and be able to visualize a timeline. Make it fun by having a countdown so your child can feel excited about starting a new year of school!
3. Slowly ease back into the school-year routine
Going from the summer routine one night into the full blow school year routine the next is too confusing and stressful for kids, inviting high levels of anxiety and meltdowns. A few weeks in advance, start to slowly take away the summer freedoms and apply some school year routine restrictions. For example, start to reduce their bedtime a little each week in the leading weeks up to their first day and if you have late sleepers, start to wake them up a little earlier so the first day isn’t a shock to their system.
4. Make back to school shopping a family affair
Kids are always excited about getting new stuff, even if its a backpack and folders. Making back to school shopping a family outing will give the kids something to look forward to and can potentially be a fun family activity- even for you, (okay I said potentially)! So have everyone grab their lists and head to the nearest Staples at least a week before the first day of school, if not more.
5. Do NOT save anything for the last minute
Referencing the last sentence in #4: head to the nearest Staples at least a week before the first day of school. This applies to all back to school anything. Make sure to plan well and stay organized because back to school time is hectic. Double check they have all their clothes, supplies, bus schedules, teachers, and whatever else they may need with plenty of time for last minute changes.
Back to school time can be stressful for both you and the kids, but you can minimize anxiety and make it a more enjoyable experience for all parties involved by planning, organizing, talking, and managing your time well. If you do all those things, back to school can be a fun and exciting experience for the kids.