For those of us who attended school on a traditional schedule, late summer and early fall feels more like New Years than January 1; a time when the slate is clean, the pencils are sharp and anything is possible.
This hopefulness is often true for children, as well, but can be coupled with the stress of new expectations, new teachers, new classmates and a switch from the carefree days of summer.
How a parent can help:
- Share the hopefulness – in a new school year, there are friends to be made, things to learn, and anything is possible – avoid bringing up past disappointments, poor habits and fears regarding readiness. Tell your children they are ready (they’re going anyway) you believe in them and you are there for support if they need it.
- Encourage children to devise their own success plan – when and where to do homework, how to keep track of what’s due, and how to be sure nothing gets left behind in the morning (yes, even in kindergarten).
- Ease the transition by helping your child get back to a school sleep schedule – to bed earlier and up earlier – so at least the body clock is adjusted when the other changes begin.
- Remember, a new teacher, new classmates, and new expectations are stressful; akin to the stress of a job change for adults. Expect kids to be tired and even short-fused. Be patient and empathetic.
Here’s to starting out the school year on a good note.
Have tips to share? Please join the conversation.