The end of summer is upon us, and although temperatures outside are still hot, school starts in less than two weeks. Some kids might be excited, while others might be filled with worry and anxiety. Maybe they are going to a new school or transitioning from elementary to middle school or high school. Whatever the case may be for your child, here are five ways to help ease anxiety and help make this school year start off on a positive note.
- Develop a Routine. Although school starts in about a week and a half, it’s not too early to start the school routine. Have your kids go to bed early and get them used to waking up around the same time they will need to when school starts. Establish time as if your child was already back in school—keep meals around the same time as your child would eat before, during and after school. Re-establish a bedtime routine. Adjusting to a routine ahead of time will help your child to feel comfortable and safe when school begins.
- Ease Fears. If your child is going to a new school, take him/her to the school to walk him/her around the campus, meet a few teachers and know the route to and from school. Talk to your child about any fears or anxiety he/she might be experiencing. Maybe school last year was difficult or your child was bullied. Instead of focusing on the bad times of school, talk to your child about the good times and the tools that helped your child to get through those tough times.
- Find something fun to look forward to. Kids may be worried about homework or the stress of making good grades. Talk to your child about the fun times at school—reconnecting with friends, making new friends, extracurricular activities at school, pep rallies, playing and watching sports or even some classes that excite your child. Remind your child that there’s more to school than just classwork—learning how to get along with others and to have fun are all part of getting a good education.
- Be creative with school supplies. Buying school supplies can be difficult for some parents and expensive. Your child may want to have the latest of everything, and that’s not always possible. See what items your child has to have and for the other items, go to different stores and play a game to try and find the cheapest price. A lot of churches and even schools have back-to-school fairs that provide needed items. Take advantage of these so that your child doesn’t feel left out without needed supplies on the first day of school.
- Foster the positive friendships in your child’s life. As parents, we don’t have control over our child’s friendships, but we can encourage our child to continue or even develop positive friendships and role models (and never forget – you are your child’s most trusted role model). Talk to your child about what makes a good friend. Help foster positive relationships by letting friends come over, meeting their parents and creating time for your child to interact with positive people.
Keep in mind, the start of school is stressful for many parents and kids alike. Touch base with other parents to find ways they are coping and getting through the transition between summer and the start of the school year. If things start to become too stressful for you or your child, ACH can provide additional support through our free counseling and free skills groups. You can call our hotline 24/7 to schedule an appointment at 817-335-HOPE (4673) or look online for more information at http://achservices.org/real-help-for-real-life.