When the warm summer months begin to wind down and the days become a little shorter, you can almost smell it in the air – back-to-school time is here!
And just as fall and cool weather approach, so does back-to-school anxiety. Between kids fearing they’ll miss the bus and won’t make new friends, and parents feeling stressed about hectic mornings and carpooling chaos, how can anyone get excited about the first day back to school?
Parents however, can set the tone for a smooth transition from summer to the new classroom by proactively addressing their children’s concerns.
Here are a few tips to ease your family’s back-to-school anxiety:
- Be enthusiastic. If you are excited and confident, your child will be too.
- Prepare yourself. Note your child’s reaction to separation. If possible, visit the new setting together and introduce your child to the new teacher in advance.
- Start Daily routines. Encourage kids to become involved by packing their own lunch and laying out their clothes. Also, begin an earlier bedtime at least one week before.
- Pack the night before. Kids should pack their book bag every night before bed. This eliminates the morning rush and trying to locate stray items.
- Always say good-bye to your child. Be firm, but friendly about separating. Never ridicule a child for crying. Instead, make supportive statements like, ” I know it’s hard to say good-bye.”
- Send a photo of your family or write a reassuring note and put it in your child’s backpack or lunch box.
At the end of the workday, put aside your work concerns and focus on being a parent.
Homework Hints (That really work!)
Here are some ways to make homework time easier for you and your child:
- Have a regular place for your child to do homework, a desk or table in a quiet room.
- Set a regular time for homework. You may want to make a rule: “No television until homework is finished.”
- Set aside ample time for homework and help your children plan on how they’ll use their time.
- Be available to answer questions and offer assistance, but never do the homework for children.
- To help alleviate fatigue, have your child close the books for 10 minutes every hour and go do something else.
- If your child is struggling with a particular subject, and you aren’t able to help, a tutor can be a good solution. Discuss it with the teacher first.
- Have your child do the most difficult homework first. Save “easy” subjects for last.
- Praise your child’s good work. Your interest will encourage good work.
Children and Moving
When a family move becomes inevitable, it is important to involve your children in the process. Since moving can cause some concerns for children – like going to a new school, leaving friends, and unfamiliarity with the new neighborhood–things will go a lot easier if your children support your efforts to get your current home sold. It is important that children keep their toys and clothes put away, and teenagers understand about keeping their room in “showing” condition. Also, showing a family home is much more successful for a realtor if the family is away.
Make an effort to include everyone in the discussions about the move and your children on house hunting tips. Contact an agent who is comfortable with children and will be sensitive to their needs and concerns.
New house, new school?
- If possible, give your child three months notice before an upcoming move, so he has time to get used to the idea.
- Explain the reason for relocating.
- Familiarize your child with his or her neighborhood ahead of time.
- Emphasize the positive aspects of the move.
- Contact the school your child will be attending and arrange a time to visit.
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