As the new school year begins, it is essential to prepare your child and give them the support they need for a smooth transition back to class. Back-to-school season can be a time of stress for many kids – even in the best of times. Make sure to pay close attention to a child's emotional health and well-being, and give them the support they need for a smooth transition back to class.
There are several ways you can help your child feel prepared for the new school year. Here are some tips to help reduce back-to-school anxiety, stress, and behavior issues:
- Keep calm: Parents need to lead by example. Slow down and give your family extra time in the morning so you aren't anxious and rushed. The less rushed a child is in the morning, the more prepared they will feel for the day. Teach kids to take deep breaths to calm themselves.
- Start a healthy routine: A nutritious diet, exercise, and good sleep are important. Children need a routine and a serene, structured schedule. Make sure your child has time to eat breakfast to start their long school day with energy.
- Keep informed: Parents need to know what is happening with the COVID-19 virus and school masking policies. Consult trusted health organizations and your local school district. Don't rely on social media alone.
- Be sensitive and keep kids in the know: Talk with your child and be tuned-in to their thoughts, concerns, and feelings. Answer their questions. Kids should know what you know so there are no surprises that can cause frustration.
- Stay flexible: Avoid rigidity. Be aware of your child's expectations and possible anxieties about starting a new school year.
- Talk with the teacher: Communicating with your child's teacher is important during these unusual and challenging times. Avoid pushing your child too hard as it could add more stress.
- Look for warning signs: If your child's mood or behavior changes, or their sleeping and eating schedule is off, talk it over. If necessary, seek professional help.