For some parents, back to school means a breath of fresh air. For others, it is a rush of anxiety and panic. It is the end of “I’m bored,” “He hit me” and “Mom, mom, mom.” It is also the end of free flow days, homework-free evenings and sleeping-in mornings. We get adult time again, but not without the price of alarm clocks, deadlines and busy days.
Here are three tips that will help smooth out the adjustment period of getting back to school:
Tip #1: Allow Transition Time. Your children may be grumpy, slow moving, sleepy, or even overwhelmed as they get back into the school schedule. Practice patience. Practice compassion. Realize they need some adjustment time. Look at ways to create less stress (see #3 below) so you can still blend in some enjoyable family time, leisure time and fun.
Tip #2: Listen, listen, listen. It is hugely important that you keep your ears open, especially as school is getting started. Your children are meeting new teachers, new peers, and starting a brand new level of learning. Listen to how that is working for them. Personalities make a difference when we spend that many hours with someone. If your children are having issues with their teachers, address it quickly. If they are having issues with peers, also address it quickly. It’s not about coddling your child, but instead about being involved and aware. Equally so, listen when your child comes home excited about learning something new or making a new friend. You want them to stay excited, and having someone to share their excitement with makes it that much more fun. (It also creates connection and trust, which is invaluable.)
Tip #3: Plan ahead. Make sure you are allowing the time needed to plan for making lunches, breakfast, and going to the grocery store to have everything on hand for the back to school transition. Set aside homework time (and a comfortable spot in the house). Make sure your children are getting enough sleep. See if putting clothes out the night before will help to minimize panic in the morning. Begin creating strategies with your children that keep you ahead of the game. Some things will work and others will not. No need to get discouraged. Try something else until you land on what works. Each child may be totally different. That’s okay. This process will be invaluable for your children later in life.
Remember to breathe, don’t let life get too crazy, and be your child’s #1 advocate. Make it an amazing school year! If you would enjoy receiving helpful tips and articles throughout the year, consider signing up for our free weekly newsletter at the bottom of this page!