Back to school blues?

Tips for beating back to school stress


School has started, sports games are gearing up, and parents, teachers, and students alike are getting into the swing of the school year routine.  As students head back to school, the transition from summer schedules to school and extracurricular activities can get a bit overwhelming.  Assignments may get forgotten, busses missed, sports shoes left on the porch, you name it, the transition can be daunting.  Parents, don’t stress too much, and keep these pointers from Dr. Steven Dowshen and in mind as your family transitions into the new school year.
First, acknowledge your child’s worries and talk about potential stressors.  Are they worried they won’t make new friends, have to deal with that same bully again, or won’t get along with their teacher?  Make it a point to talk with your child about their school worries and offer reassurance.  Make sure to emphasize those positive things about back to school, such as showing off that new school outfit, connecting with friends they may have missed over the summer, or all the fun opportunities that come with extracurricular activities.
Next, try to set a regular back to school routine.  Remember, children need plenty of sleep and a healthy diet to be successful.  Set a reasonable bedtime and stick to it, ensure your child eats a healthy breakfast before school, and write down those important, need to know items such as locker combinations and homeroom assignments.  Create a calendar that contains important dates, practice schedules, and other important school related information.  Encourage your child to use a daily planner or other similar system to record important test dates, project due dates, practice schedules, and other important school related deadlines to help them stay organized.  Encourage your child to pack their backpack with all the important supplies needed for the next day, such as sports uniforms, homework assignments, snacks, house keys, and other necessary supplies.

Further, help your child succeed by planning ahead.  Help your child pick a wardrobe that fits the school dress code, plan and time that route to school so they can be on time, and provide the supplies needed for school.  Are you planning to send a lunch with your child or pay for lunches at school?  Does your child have any special medical needs the school nurse needs to be aware of?  Make sure you have covered all these bases so the transition into the new school year begins without a hitch.
Next, plan for afterschool time.  Can you be there to pick your child up from school, or do you need to arrange afterschool care?  Is there an afterschool program available to help you with that afterschool time?  Will your child be home alone until you arrive?  Make sure you set a plan and your child knows where to go, who to go with, and the afterschool rules of the house if spending time home alone.  
Lastly, be intentional about homework time.  Scholastic achievement is important, so help your child succeed by intentionally focusing on homework.  Set a specific time for homework, and make sure the area is free of distractions.  Turn off the television and set aside smart phones until homework is finished.  Encourage your child to ask teachers for clarification when needed or help to fully understand concepts.  Check over your child’s homework when she is finished, not necessarily for mistakes but for comprehension of concepts.  Don’t forget, never do your child’s homework assignment for them, instead, offer help and advice when needed.
Parents, the beginning of the school year does not need to stress you out.  Use these tips from Dr. Dowshen and to help get your school year off on the right foot.  I am confident you will have a great year!
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