Going back to school can be a hard transition for many kids and their parents. The shift from later bedtimes and relaxed days to early mornings and homework can cause stress and even anxiety in some kids. But with a little preparation and a plan, you can help ease your family back into school worry-free.
Warm up for the first week of school by having a dry run a few days before. Have backpacks ready at the door, clothes laid out and breakfast prepared. Then set their alarms and let them “practice” getting ready for the first day of school. After you’re done, do something fun as a family.
Another great way to make the morning run smoother is to print and laminate checklists for each of your kids. You can hang them in a place they will see each morning and include things like:
- Get dressed
- Make bed
- Brush teeth
- Feed dog
- Grab backpack
This also helps kids feel more in charge of themselves and that’s never a bad thing.
Start a tradition
What about starting a tradition -- a back to school tradition? It’s an exciting way to help ease any anxiety your kids might be feeling. Maybe it is chocolate chip pancakes on the first day of school or a backpack filled with new school supplies. Or maybe you watch a family movie the night before, but have everyone in bed early for a fresh start. Whatever it is, find a tradition that works for you.
Show your kids that you are just as excited as they are. Talk it up! Tell them how great the school year will be, how much fun they are going to have, and explain some of the new things they are going to learn. Our kids feed off of our emotions and if we remain enthusiastic, so will they and their separation anxiety will be lessened.
Build in downtime
Lastly, remember to let them come home and decompress. The first week of school is especially exhausting, so your kids might need to head to bed earlier on those nights. But even in the afternoons, allow them time to unwind and relax with a snack or a favorite hobby before beginning homework.
Also, don’t feel the need to overwhelm them with questions. I’m guilty of this and I start drilling my kids. “How was it? What was your favorite part? How were your teachers?” Kids may need a week to take it all in before they spill the beans, and that’s OK. Because when they do, it will be worth it, and your preparation in making the transition back to school less stressful will have helped pave the way.