By Bellevue Christian counseling
Stores are in full swing of selling back to school items, which is a sure sign that summer is coming to an end. Summer is a great time to relax, enjoy the sun and be together as a family. Your children may feel excited, nervous or have mixed feelings as they think about going back to school. Here are some ways to help prepare them for the transition.
1. Restart the normal bedtime routine again.
Often during the summer, routines go a little lax because of vacations and it staying lighter later. At least one week before school starts, it’s a great idea to get your children back into their normal bedtime routine. This will help reintroduce the routine that your child is used to during the school year.
2. Read books about the transition.
If your child is feeling nervous about starting school, there are some great books that you can read together.
o First Day Jitters by Julie Dannenberg follows several adults and children as they get ready for the first day back to school. The surprise ending also adds for some laughs for parents and children.
o The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn is a great book if your child has a difficult time with goodbyes.
o Lunch Money and Other Poems about School by Carol Diggory Shields has fun rhymes that get children excited about what they have to look forward to about school.
o American Girl’s A Smart Girl’s Guide to Starting Middle School is a great resource to answer questions that girls might have about making the transition from elementary school to middle school.
3. Walk your child through the school day routine.
Children find comfort in structure and routine. Writing out their weekday school schedule and posting it in the kitchen or in their room is a great way to help them know what their days will look like. The schedule can be as detailed as your child needs it to be. For example, the schedule could start with the time they wake up and end at bedtime.
4. Drive by the school and walk around the campus.
If your child is starting school for the first time or is starting at a new school, allowing them to actually see where they will be going can help ease nervousness. It may even help to walk around the school so the child can visualize the location of their classroom and other buildings on the campus.
5. Write your child a note in their lunch for the first week.
This will let your child know that you are thinking of them and give them encouragement halfway through the school day.
6. Plan a small celebration.
Surprise your children with a mini celebration for successfully making it through their first week back. Maybe it’s ice cream or some reminder of summer or it’s their favorite treat. If you want to make it a bigger party, you could invite their new friends.
If you find that your child’s initial nerves about going back to school do not subside, counseling may be a good option to rule out anxiety and to find out the source of their anxiety. A child’s anxiety is considered significant if it is seems excessive in comparison to the situation and is disrupting his or her life. An initial meeting with a counselor and reviewing your child’s situation will allow you to gain insight about what may be going on and further steps for you and your child.
Images cc: freedigitalphotos.com -“Girl Reading Books” by Stuart Miles
“A Schoolboy And His Teacher” by Paul Gooddy
“Girl Receiving Presents” by Stuart Miles