Essential Back to School Tips
to Help Parents AND Kids
Here are some must-have back to school tips to ensure a smooth
transition for everyone. There’s no need to endure any kind of back to
school anxiety for either you or your children. These are also great
ideas for young children entering school for the very first time.
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What should also be included in back to School tips, is take your toddler with you. Let them see how exciting it all is. So that come the day, they will not be phased by all the hassle.
Back to School Tips for Kids:
- Make sure they get plenty of sleep. You know how different your kids behave when they are tired and cranky vs. when they are rested and energized. When they get enough sleep they will be more relaxed, refreshed and be able to focus on what they are learning. A good night’s sleep will also reduce any anxiety and potential behavior problems. So, how do you ensure a good night’s sleep? You can try these suggestions:
- Stick to a regular schedule – have the same bed time every night
- No snacking (especially sugar and caffeinated sodas) right before bed time
- Read soothing stories before they go to sleep
- Have them start going to bed earlier at least a week or 2 before school starts. Don't wait to adjust their schedule until the night before their first day of school.
- Make sure your kids are getting plenty of physical activity which can do wonders to decrease their fears and stimulate their minds. Encourage them away from their video games and televisions to go outside and play. Get them involved in team sports, or go on a bike ride with them or how about a swim?
- Provide them with a good healthy breakfast before school. Make certain to include this in your morning routine.
- Leave plenty of time in the morning to get ready. Last minute panics set both you AND your kids on edge which can often set your entire day on the wrong path.
- Talk to your kids about what to expect when they start school. Provide them with what a typical day may entail. Sometimes fear of the unknown gets blown way out of proportion. Encourage them to ask lots of questions about any concerns they might have. Find out what, if any, fears they may have and work with them to feel safe and secure about each fear.
- Find out if the school allows you to take your child to class the first day. Knowing you will be there the first day will likely ease their anxiety.
- Involve your kids in the back to school preparation. Get their input on what clothes to wear and what school supplies they’d like.
- One of the best back to school tips, and the most important thing you can do for your child, is to make sure that YOUR anxiety doesn’t transmit to THEIR anxiety. It’s sometimes hard for parents to see their kids leaving for the first time, but put on a happy face and don’t show your kids that you’re sad or worried. Young kids take their cues from you, so be positive. No sad long goodbyes!!
- Prepare them with a good book about going to school such as the ones below:
- Kids starting school for the very first time will have different fears than those just starting a new grade. They may need reassurance about the most basic issues such where do they go, what will they do, who will they play with, when do they eat lunch, and will you be there to pick them up, etc.
- If your kids are having a chronic problem with separation anxiety, get additional back to school tips from their teachers about what you can do to alleviate this. But give it time, most kids adjust well after a few weeks.
- Let your children take something from home to school with them like a family photo, or a favorite book. Having something familiar can do a lot to set them at ease.
- Communicate with your child’s teacher on a regular basis so you understand fully how your child is doing in the classroom and what you can do if your child needs extra support.
- Don’t let your kids hear you criticize or talk badly about their teachers.
- Take your cues for your child. Some kids are little chatterboxes and will start telling you about their day the minute they see you. Others need some quiet time to decompress before they’re ready to share. Do what’s best for your child’s comfort, NOT yours.
- Help your kids focus on the things they like about school and don’t dwell on the things that trouble them. Do they enjoy their teacher, classmates, recess, art, or music? Highlight anything that produces enthusiasm and eagerness.
Back to School Tips for Parents
One of the hardest things to do as a parent is to just let go. How do you stop worrying? Do you know that your anxiety gets passed on to your kids? So knowing that you want your children to be happy, confident, and worry-free, one of the best things you can do for them is to tame YOUR
anxieties about sending them off to school.
Here are some back to school ideas to help you do this:
- Recognize that your back to school anxiety is easily transmitted to your kids. Once you acknowledge this, you can take action to alleviate your anxiety. What exactly are you anxious about? Focus on solutions instead of the problems.
- If you are feeling separation anxiety, you can ease this by becoming involved in school activities. Can you volunteer at the school, attend PTA meetings, meet with teachers, talk with other parents?
- Ask your kids to tell you about their day so you can feel connected, but without interrogating them. Even young children don’t like to be put on the spot or to feel like they’re being drilled. Keep a conversational interested tone and they will be more inclined to share their daily experiences at school.
- It’s often hard to let go when every minute of your parenting life so far was wrapped around your kids. This may be the first time you’ve actually had any time for yourself – use it. Throw yourself into your job or school or your home. You can focus on hobbies or volunteer work – whatever makes you happy. Nothing is more advantageous for your kids than having happy parents.
- Remember that going back to school or starting school for the first time are important positive milestones in your child’s life. They should be celebrated; not mourned.
Implementing some or all of these back to school tips can make life happier for you and your kids. Time and patience is the key to success.
Done with back to school tips? Here are some other helpful links you may enjoy:
Teaching Reading Strategies for different age groups
Our Recommendations for the Best Books For Children
Use Reading Games for Kids to Give them an Educational Edge
Return to Reading Motivation
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