Is someone in your household currently feeling frazzled, anxious, excited, uncertain, nervous, or elated? If you have school aged children, the chances are very good you can emphatically answer “yes” to this question. It seems that time is upon us already, and families across the south are rushing to purchase new school supplies, groceries, and clothing in preparation for the big day. Chances are also good that if you’re a parent, you’re secretly feeling a bit elated at the prospect of the kids going back to school. Sure, vacation was awesome and you’ve made some lasting memories together at the lake, beach or pool this summer, but you’re ready. You’re ready for life to get back to normal. Consider for a moment, though, how your children are feeling. Sometimes, especially if transitioning to a different school or grade level, they can experience negative emotions like anxiety, stress, and uncertainty. Much of this angst is just a normal part of life that we all experience when faced with the prospect of change. However, sometimes it can be more than just a few nervous moments. So, as parents, just how can we help our kids as the new school year approaches? Here are a few tools that may prove beneficial…
First, make sure you set aside time to talk with your kids about any fears or worries they may have regarding the new school Back to school year. Sometimes just verbalizing anxieties helps to put them in their proper perspective and thereby to cope with them. I remember one time my own daughter, who was usually begging me to go and get new school supplies in early July because she was so excited about returning to school, seemed unusually quiet when I mentioned her upcoming year. Come to find out, she was worried about who she would sit with at lunch if her best friend was put in another homeroom. We came up with a couple of possible scenarios and solutions for her. This was exactly what she needed to calm her fears. For some more serious concerns like bullying and grades, you can have your child identify the concern and plan his/her own ideas of how to handle the situation. Then, you can talk about them together, even creating a chart to hang up and act as a visual aid and reminder.
Most importantly, experts agree that more explicit and constructive methods for addressing your children’s concerns are the most effective. It’s not really helpful to just toss around ‘cheerleading’ phrases like, “It’ll be alright” or “Everything will work out fine”. Today’s children face some distinct challenges and best benefit from more concrete advice and interactions. As part of this, it is very helpful to start easing your children back into a scheduled routine BEFORE school begins. Start a week or two before the blessed day occurs by enforcing a set bed and wake-up time. Additionally, schedule a specific 1-2 hour time frame during the day where they can read or work on any other summer work that may have been provided. You want to set the stage for a more fluid transition.
Last, but certainly not least, do some work yourself. Look into the practice of ‘mindfulness’. There’s a growing body of research indicating that practicing ‘mindfulness’ with children can help them obtain improved focus, calm down quicker when they’re upset, and make better decisions all around. To get the “5 Top Mindfulness Tips” that help your children write at the beginning of the school year, click the DOWNLOAD button below. This will give you immediate knowledge on what to do with your child if he is feeling anxious on the first day! You must download the link to receive the next series of blogs which will discuss these ideas in more detail. We hope we have been able to help you and your child experience a happy and healthy start to the new school year. If so, please stay tuned for our upcoming series on ‘mindfulness’ and remember that we at Dynamis Learning Academy are dedicated to helping all children achieve their potential.