Back To School Success Tips By Erin Taylor
This time of year, my Facebook feed begins to fill up with back-to-school photos of rosy-cheeked children waiting expectantly for the bus to pick them up for their first day of a new school year. A new school year can be filled with so much anticipation, excitement, and worry. But we can minimize the angst our children feel. Read on to find out ways that you can help your child make this school year a success!
A few weeks to a few days before:
- Several weeks to a few days before your child’s first day, it is important to make sure you get the supplies they will need for their teachers and subjects. You can find supplies online or take your child to pick out their own supplies with the list his/her teacher gives out.
- At least a week before the first day of school, it is important to try to wind back the bedtime clock. Many kids end up going to bed later during the summer months. Now is the time to begin to try to reset their internal clocks to a sleep schedule that is more conducive to school. This is easiest with younger children, as teens tend to naturally stay up later and can have difficulty falling asleep earlier. If you allowed the nighttime routine to fall away a bit, now is a great time to bring it back. A bath, a bedtime story, a massage, maybe some lavender oil in a diffuser. All of these should help to ease and encourage their little bodies to sleep.
- Take a look through their wardrobes. Our children grow up so quickly that what they wore last school year may not fit them this school year. Check sizes and amounts of their clothes so that they are prepared with a wardrobe that will serve them this school year.
- Visit the classroom or teacher with your child if your school offers this. If they are moving to a new school, take them for a tour so they can learn their way around. This can be a great way to relieve some of the back-to-school jitters your child may be feeling.
- Share with your child how excited you are for their new school year and all the potential good that can come out of it. They can have some natural worry or discomfort about the unknown of the new school year, and your anxiety will only magnify theirs.
- Talk with children about what they can expect with their new teacher and in their new grade. Address any fear or resistance they may be feeling. Many times, the worry they feel is the result of not knowing what to expect or believing they are the only ones who feel this way. Normalize what they are feeling and see if you can alleviate some of that unknown for them.
The Night Before School Starts:
- Help them to pick out their first-day outfit. This is quite an important step for many kids. Many feel very strongly about looking “just right” on their first day. This will likely fade as the days go on. But that first day can be a big one in this area.
- Pack their lunch or help them to pack their own lunch (unless they buy lunch). It is a great idea to get your child to either make their own lunch or help out in making it. This helps them to develop life skills.
- Hopefully, by this time, their sleep cycle is dialed back to something more conducive to school nights. In addition, hopefully, the bedtime routine is back in full swing. Sleep is a critical thing that our bodies need. This helps to restore us from the day’s activities and prepare for tomorrow. The more pleasant and relaxing you can make the bedtime routine, the better for your child.
The First Day of School:
- Start the day off with a good breakfast. Fueling the mind helps our children to have the brainpower to face the school day with zest and vigor! I personally practice intermittent fasting where I only eat from about 11 am to 8 pm. However, I do not feel this is good for young, growing bodies.
- Take some First Day Photos, if your child will allow it Pinterest has some really cute First-Day-Photo ideas. They may not appreciate these photos now, but in time, they will serve as mile-markers on their road to adulthood.
- Encourage your child to HAVE FUN at school! School is a place for learning, making friends, and growing. There are so many “serious” things that happen at school. But it is also helpful to bring a sense of fun and lightness to it all.
- Do YOUR homework. My children have always enjoyed bringing homework home to ME on the first day of school. These include those back-to-school forms that they will need for record-keeping. This also sets a good tone for them doing their homework throughout the school year. And it goes without saying that they will need to do their homework if they get any on the first day.
Getting into the routine:
- As the school year moves onward, it becomes important to get back into the flow of a new school year. Help your child find their own rhythm for homework, for example. Some children need to run around after school before they can be expected to sit back down and do more schoolwork after an already-long day. Some children prefer to dive right into their homework and get it out of the way so they don’t have to think about it again for the rest of the evening. I encourage parents to figure out what works best for their child and practice that rather than trying to stuff the child into a pre-determined homework mold. In addition, it is important to figure out the flow of homework considering sports and any other after-school activities.
One final note:
September is usually a time when I find more parents reaching out to me to begin parent coaching. A new school year can bring a whole host of new challenges, issues or struggles. You can potentially minimize these struggles by utilizing the ideas above. But if you still find yourself struggling, reach out to me. I would love help.