The new school year is quickly approaching which, for some parents, this is a much welcome reprieve. It makes me think of that commercial with the dad singing and dancing, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” down the aisles of Staples. For other parents, this time can bring feelings of sadness of another summer come and gone and they are holding on to the last few days of freedom from structure.
Or perhaps you are feeling both of these emotions. Either way, going back to school is a big transition and can leave many of us feeling a bit stressed and like, the pressure is ON.
Can anyone relate?
Along with the pressure we feel, our children are quite possibly experiencing their own excitement, and maybe even anxieties, around the approaching new school year. Whether starting at a new school, or moving up a grade, there are many adjustments to be made and parents often wonder how they can help alleviate the mounting stress and make the transitions into the new year as smooth as possible.
5 TIPS FOR A SMOOTH TRANSITION
1) GET FAMILIAR with the school information. Even if you are familiar with the school already, read the materials sent by the school soon after it arrives. There may be new policies, new teachers, new schedules. Be sure to get up to date BEFORE school begins. The first several days, if not weeks, of school and new routines, will be busy enough for you to be dealing with last minute sign-ups, what school supplies are needed and pertinent upcoming school calendar dates in that moment.
2) CREATE A CALENDAR with all the important dates, such as holidays and special events, along with the individual events of each child, including yours. Write in the music lessons, club meetings, sports practices, volunteer duties. Doctor appts, hair appts, date nights out! Write it all on there and put it up for all to see. Try color coding each family member’s activities to keep the calendar organized and easy to see for those quick glances. This kind of clear, direct communication can really help cut down on family chaos and confusion, helping everyone involved stay in the know and on the same page.
3) RE-ESTABLISH the bedtime, wake up time and mealtime routines a week before school begins. This is an incredible way to come off of the less structured summer schedule to the more structured school routine, with less actual consequences, like being late to school because it was so hard to get up!
4) ARRANGE A VISIT to the school. If your child is starting a new school, or if your child is at the same school and going into a new class with a new teacher, go visit the campus. Find out if you can meet the teacher. Find where their class(es) are located. Walk the route they will go from drop off to their class and then to other classrooms, if this applies. This can also be an amazing opportunity to hear what else your child may be worried about, and for you to be able to help ease any anxieties your child may have with actionable steps and plans ahead of time.
5) Finally, along with addressing any worries and anxieties they may be experiencing about the new year, take the time to find out what they are looking forward to as well. You can do this by asking open ended questions.
Some examples might be:
What are they most looking forward to?
What are they hoping to learn this year?
What new activities would they like to try?
What will you share about your favorite part of summer?
These steps always worked for me and my family, and my hope is, they help you and your family start the school year off feeling confident, positive and ready to go as well.
What do you do to help your family make this transition as smooth as possible? I’d love to hear!