Are Your Children Feeling a Little Anxious About Starting the School Year?
Here are 5 Ways to Minimize the Stress of Going Back to School
Today, thousands of students and parents are waking up thinking, “Oh, no, school starts in just a short time. How am I going to get ready in such a short time?” Aside from the trips to Walmart and Target for various school supplies, there are also the psychological aspects to consider. After such a relaxing and fun-filled summer, many students and parents alike feel nervous and unsettled at the prospect of a new school year. Perhaps last year was difficult academically and you’re wondering if this year will be the same. Memories of homework and common core math can send even the most even keeled people into a mild panic. Or, maybe your concern lies in those stressful mornings, trying to get all the kids dressed, fed, and appropriately accessorized. Instead of just worrying about the days to come, we have some practical advice on how to ease your anxieties and get your whole household ready to embrace a new year of learning with confidence.
The first thing to remember is a saying that is an oldie but a goody. “Practice makes perfect.” You can actually use these last few days or week to practice your morning routine with the whole family. Set your alarm clocks and run some literal ‘back-to-school’ drills. Practice what it’s like to wake up earlier, get dressed, make sure you’ve got everything you need for the day and get out the door on time. Even carry the routine to dinner and bedtime. Plan ahead for the week what the family will eat, when they will sit down to do homework, how much screen time will be allowed, and what bedtime will look like. It’s a good idea to sit down with the whole family first and discuss these issues, before you run the drills, so everyone is on the same page.
Secondly, and what is probably foremost on most people’s minds, are the school supplies. Make sure you don’t wait till the last minute. There’s still time to order online, if you can’t make it to the store. Kids usually like buying their new supplies so have your older ones go online the week before and make a list of what they want and need. You can go over the list together and then make your move. Once the supplies are in hand, take a few minutes to show your kids how to actually use the supplies. For example, maybe your son or daughter has a protractor on their list and has never used one before. Again, it’s the practice before the big day that can really help alleviate stress.
Next, be sure to plan and practice how to get ready for school the night before. We’ve probably heard this one a bit, but sometimes it’s easy to forget the true value of laying out your clothes, making your lunch, and getting everything packed up prior to waking. If you can get your family in this habit, many of those morning anxieties will just melt away like ice cream on a hot July afternoon.
Now, we come to the actual morning ritual. It’s best to allow extra time for any unforeseen emergencies. Invariably, the dog runs off and you have to go find him. Or Annie’s having a bad hair day and makes everyone wait on her. These things happen! Also, there’s screen time to consider. Over the summer, it’s likely your family has gotten in the habit of waking up and taking time to check their phones, social media, texts, news feeds, etc. It’s a good idea to take this final week to break that habit. When you have your family meeting, stress the importance of waiting until you’re in the car and on your way to school before any kids turn on any devices.
Finally, take advantage of one thing we do not lack in today’s society…support groups. There are many parent groups out there, either online or in person, where you can talk about your school challenges and get ideas from others who have the same issues. Or, perhaps you have a neighborhood group of friends you lean on. Help organize your own parent group and meet, let’s say, once a month to talk about what’s going on with school. Don’t underestimate the value of peer support, especially when it comes to family.
In conclusion, at Dynamis Learning Academy, we want to help you have a smooth transition back to school. We believe that one of the best ways to do this is to practice your routine before school starts. Therefore, it is our hope that these ideas will keep you hopeful, and prepare you for an awesome new school year. As another resource, we have a planning sheet which can aid you in organizing and reflecting upon the upcoming year. To obtain this Back-to-School Planning Guide, click here HERE. Wishing you a great school year!