Ease Back into School

image of school items

Ready or not, for most kids in our area the new school year will begin in the next couple weeks.

Regardless of how old your kids are, going back to school can be a big transition after the fun of summer. If your kids are apprehensive or nervous about school, that transition can be even tougher. Begin the process of easing your child into the school routine now to help calm any fears. Here are some tips to help your child and you, from the National Association of School Psychologists.

  • Good health: Be sure your child is in good physical and mental health. Discuss any concerns you have over your child's emotional or psychological development with your pediatrician. Your doctor can help determine if your concerns are normal, age-appropriate issues or require further assessment.
  • Read up: Review the material sent by the school as soon as it arrives. These packets include important information about your child's teacher, school supply requirements, sign-ups for after-school sports and activities, school calendar dates, etc.
  • Collect your forms: Make copies of all your child's health and emergency information for reference. Contact your doctor early if you need his/her signature.
  • Shop early: Try to get the supplies as early as possible and fill the backpacks a week or two before school starts. Older children can help do this, but make sure they use a checklist that you can review. Seeing the supplies will help your child start processing that school is almost here.
  • Get your routine: Plan to re-establish the bedtime and mealtime routines (especially breakfast) at least one week before school starts. Prepare your child for this change by talking with your child about the benefits of school routines in terms of not becoming over tired or overwhelmed by school work and activities.
  • Turn off the TV: Encourage your child to play quiet games, do puzzles, flash cards, color, or read as early morning activities instead of watching television. This will help ease your child into the learning process and school routine. If possible, maintain this practice throughout the school year.
  • Check out the school: If your child is young or in a new school, visit the school with your child. Meeting the teacher, locating their classroom, locker, lunchroom, etc., will help ease pre-school anxieties and also allow your child to ask questions about the new environment.
  • Plan for homework: Older children should have the option of studying in their room or a quiet area of the house. Younger children usually need an area set aside in the family room or kitchen to facilitate adult monitoring, supervision, and encouragement.
  • Save a spot: Designate a spot for your children to place their school belongings as well as a place to put important notices and information sent home for you to see. Explain that emptying their backpack each evening is part of their responsibility, even for young children.

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