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Return to School Stress-Free

Every parent wants the transition from one grade to the next to go smoothly. Here are some suggestions on how to de-stress beginning at a new school or returning to a familiar.

Change is difficult for everyone to accept and kids are no different. Maybe family demographics have changed since school closed and they are fearful of how others will perceive them. Other changes could be more physical and the fear of being the tallest in their grade will bring criticism. The stress of a new school year can be overwhelming to some and challenging for others.

As school-related anxieties become more common, seminars and classes to help students handle this stress have become a recent trend. Some students feel that they must sign up for every activity and social club to fit in. The fear of not fitting in or being accepted by new friends is on every student’s mind the first few days of school.

The National Association of School Psychologists http://www.nasponline.org/ has a few tips for parents to help students enjoy the beginning of school.

  • Before school starts, decided what information about your family you are willing to share. Let the school administrator/teachers know if you have relocated or a change in family demographics. If you are now a single parent, let them know this in advance and it will avoid uncomfortable questions during class. Role play different scenarios with your child so they will be prepared for awkward conversations.
  • Review all the information the school has sent home with your child. Let them know what their locker number is and approximately where it is located. Some schools will allow you to practice opening your locker and find your homeroom to help elevate stress and confusion on the first day of school.
  • Mark your calendar together for back-to-school nights, open houses and days off. Encourage your child to add their personal touches with color markers and stickers. 
  • Re-establish a routine for waking up, breakfast and bed time. Listen to their input and compromise on the details of the schedule. Allow your child to decide on breakfast the night before so the day will start organized and stress-free. Explain to them the benefits of getting a restful night's sleep and allowing enough time in the morning to get ready before the school bus arrives.
  • Allow at least one hour of quiet time before school or bed. This includes the television, video games, iPods, etc. By “unplugging” themselves, this will help ease your child into the learning process and prepare for a school routine.  
  • If uniforms are not worn, have your child decide on an outfit and lay it out the night before. This will make getting ready for school less traumatic and will allow the child to make changes without morning time constraints. 
  • Discuss lunch options and what they would prefer. Is it easier to purchase a healthy lunch or does your child want to bring their own? If they would like to bring their own, include them on purchasing the items and preparing the lunch. Know if there are restrictions in your school for peanuts or peanut butter or other allergies.

There are so many helpful hints to assist in the beginning of school. Trial and error seems to work with children and they are not shy and will tell you if they do not like something.

In the comment section, share what works for you and your family. How do you get your child ready for school stress-free?

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