Some kids are thrilled to go back to school every year. Some kids are terrified. Some couldn’t care less. Kids aren’t the only ones with mixed emotions about returning to school. With new school supplies, clothes, open houses, and new routines, there is plenty for parents to worry about.
We hope these ten tips help this year’s back-to-school transition the best your family has ever had.
Organize your family’s calendar
Family calendars work best when kids have input and are a part of the creation process. Get them involved. Make it a family activity. Create and display a calendar of your family’s regularly scheduled activities and important dates.
Children crave structure so knowing there is a defined plan in place will help ease a ton of their back-to-school, new-routine anxieties.
Make a school-year plan
Work with your kids to design a school-year plan. Figure out—with them—when they will wake up, leave for school, get home from school, go to bed, and when they will be doing their homework, chores, and other activities. Be sure to schedule some free time for them to do what they want each day. These can also be added to your family calendar.
Create a structured morning routine
Getting ready for school in the morning can get pretty hectic, especially at the beginning of the new school year. Don’t wait till their first day! Instead, start a morning routine a couple of weeks before Day One. Get your kids used to getting up early enough to get ready, eat, and be out the door.
Design a specific/special space to do homework
If possible, find a place at home that can be used exclusively for homework. Try to find a quiet and distraction-free space, decorate it with uplifting images (avoid too much text), and stock it with essential supplies. This is a tip students use up to and through college!
If you can’t make room for a designated homework space, use your family calendar to let everyone know when other spaces—like the kitchen table—are reserved for homework.
Visit the school and meet the teacher
Not knowing who their new teacher will be is one of the primary causes of back-to-school stress for kids. If your child’s school offers back-to-school orientations and meet-and-greets, get these on your family calendar ASAP. Children who meet their teachers and see their classrooms in advance usually exhibit less nervousness on the first day of school.
Ee-establish bedtime routines
Child development experts are split on whether it’s better to re-establish bedtime routines before or after the school year begins. Either way, getting kids to bed earlier, when they’ve likely spent the summer staying up later than usual, can be tough. Don’t try to do it all at once! Gradually, five to ten minutes at a time, push their bedtime earlier and earlier. It helps to add this to the family calendar.
Stay positive about any stress or anxiety your children are expressing
The most important thing parents can do is stay positive and encouraging when their children are exhibiting anxiety about returning to school. As stressed out as you may be, you must be a positive and motivating force for your children. Also, recognize when you are more stressed for them than they are. It’s easy for us adults to project our feelings onto our children.
Get them back into those activities you put on hold
Do your kids usually attend classes or sports after school? If you’ve taken a break from classes for the summer, start back up a couple of weeks (at least) before school starts. Lots of parents prefer to give their kids a chance to acclimate to school before putting them back into activities. According to many child psychologists, this is backward. Children are more benefited by reintroducing familiar social routines before introducing new ones like a new teacher and a classroom full of new kids. Get these back on your family calendar today.
Reconnect your child with peers from school before they return to school
Give your kids a chance to reconnect with friends they haven’t seen for the summer. Re-establishing familiar friendships gives kids a huge boost to their self-esteem and confidence. This is one reason that getting your children back into the activities you put on hold is so important.
Send them back to school with confidence and self-esteem
Confidence and self-esteem are likely the two most important factors determining a child’s success in school. Kids with healthy self-esteem:
- feel liked and accepted
- feel proud of what they can do
- believe in themselves
- feel confident
- have the confidence to try new things
- are more likely to try their best
- try again, even if they fail at first
- are less likely to be bullied
- and so much more . . .
There are lots of activities that can help kids build confidence and self-esteem. We may be a bit biased, but we believe our martial arts classes for kids are one of the best. We believe it is our purpose to inspire and empower our students to do and be their personal best every day!
Give your child a headstart on the school year and send them back to school with two of the most important school supplies you won’t find on any list . . . confidence and self-esteem.