With summer coming to an end and the school year starting anew, it’s time to start transitioning your little one out of vacation mode. It’s no secret that there is a stark contrast between lazy summer lounging and days full of academic challenge. A few months of lax schedules and no homework can cause even the most astute students to protest school’s return.
Understandably, some children find it difficult to adjust during their first semester. However, as parents, we have the power to ease those back-to-school blues. Here are three ways you can help your children acclimate:
Emphasize the Positive
Your little one may be mourning the end of his summer break, but no child can deny the joy that new things bring. If your student seems glum about returning to school, offer a different perspective by focusing on the positive. The most popular motivator is undoubtedly new clothes and school supplies. As tempting as it is to print off the school supplies list and quickly handle it yourself, don’t. Back-to-school shopping gives your child an opportunity to reinvent their personal style, test the waters on the newest fashion trends and personalize the tools that they will need in class. In addition to new apparel and supplies, a fresh school year also brings new friends.
While school’s main objective is to educate children on a diverse array of academic topics, it also helps develop social skills. Socialization is integrated into nearly every aspect of the school day; consequently, new friends are a big deal. Remind your child that they are going to be surrounded by plenty of classmates who they can have fun with, both in and out of school. If shopping and friends aren’t exciting enough, consider allowing your child to test a new mode of transportation to and from school.
If they normally walk, maybe they can try taking the school bus or their bike instead. Enacting such a simple change can do wonders for your student’s attitude toward the upcoming year. Lastly, new teachers and classes can also be a silver lining. Do a bit of research to find out the basics about your child’s new teacher, schedule or subjects and speak excitedly about those topics.
Make Responsibilities More Convenient
Some students struggle during the beginning of the year because they dislike the responsibility that school brings. Whether packing a lunch, remembering to complete an assignment or mastering time management, responsibility is indeed a vital aspect of conquering school. Ease the burden by employing creative tactics and aids to help your child handle responsibility effectively.
o Try lunch packing stations.
o Create a binder full of school lunch ideas that your child can reference.
o Print a copy of the school lunch menu and hang it on the fridge.
o Keep a wall calendar with all homework and important assignments listed (hang the school calendar next to it).
o Install Command Hooks near the door for you child to hang their backpack (so they won’t forget it).
o Use a wall file hanger where children can put forms to be signed or homework to be checked.
- Time Management
o Estimate the amount of time needed for an assignment, then set a timer to stay on track.
o Regularly check-in with your child to see if schedules need to be adjusted to accommodate a healthy balance of academics and home life.
Keep An Open Dialogue About Emotions
A little empathy goes a long way. As hard as we try, it’s impossible to prepare for every scenario that will cause tension in the new year. Eventually, your little one will encounter a bout of frustration, fear or anxiety. It’s important to be proactive by fostering a habit of open communication from the very 1st day of school. This will help your child feel comfortable sharing their stressors with you.
Listen to their concerns and experiences without judgment and offer assistance when applicable. Validate their feelings and be supportive by helping them problem solve. Be realistic about the amount of the time it may take to settle into a new grade, with new people and surroundings. In short, be reassuring. Remind your child that it’s ok to feel overwhelmed and you will always be there to help.
From elementary, all the way through high school, letting go of summer can be tough. It’s completely normal to be a bit off-kilter when trying to get back into the routine of school. Make the transition easier by using these three tips and watch how your child’s attitude toward the first semester improve.