Summer is winding down and back to school season is approaching. The start of the school year often brings on stress and anxiety for students and parents alike. Fortunately, we have several strategies you can begin to use now in order for you and your child to begin the new school year confidently and calmly.
Create a Stress-Free Morning Routine
No one wants to start the day feeling rushed, so sit down with your kids and come up with a morning routine. Start by listing everything that has to be done to get ready for school in the morning and everything that has to be done to wind down in the evening, then see if you can balance those lists. There are probably a few morning items—packing backpacks, making lunches, or choosing an outfit—that can be done the night before to reduce stress in the morning.
Make these lists of items into morning and evening routines and post them where your family can see them. You can even encourage younger children to design and decorate the lists using pictures, stickers, etc. Keep children accountable to these routines and make adjustments as you figure out what works best for your family.
Arrange a “Getting to Know You” Meeting With Your Child’s Teacher
Start by sitting down with your child and talking about what makes them self-conscious in class. Common stressors include being called on to read aloud without warning or feeling rushed to answer questions in group discussions without time to think about the topic. Discuss other important things they would like their teacher to know about them, such as their academic strengths and weaknesses, favorite and least-favorite in-class activities, and goals for the year. Also, come up with a list of questions that you and your child may have for their teacher(s).
Reach out to your child’s teacher(s) right before the new school year begins or at the very beginning of the school year and request a back to school meeting. If you came up with a list of questions, share that with your child’s teacher(s) ahead of time so they have a chance to prepare thoughtful answers. If your child has multiple teachers and you aren’t able to schedule meetings with all of them, focus on meeting with the teachers of courses in which your child needs extra support.
Practice Habits for Taking Care of You and Your Child’s Emotional Needs
We’re used to having daily routines for taking care of our bodies, such as taking showers and brushing our teeth, but we tend to overlook the need to get into the habit of taking care of our emotional needs. Simple techniques practiced in the morning and evening can help us express gratitude, focus on the positives, and celebrate growth. By participating in these routines, students and parents alike can cultivate happiness, self-confidence, and the emotional tolerance to handle stress and overcome challenges.
As the new school year approaches, start taking some time each day to write down or tell a loved one three things that you feel grateful for. With your child, implement a Positive Daily Wrap-Up Routine where you ask each other “What was great today?” You can do this on the car ride home, at the dinner table, or right before bed. If you’re traveling or working late, you can even do this together via video chat or text message!
Another important aspect of practicing good habits for emotional well-being is cultivating a growth mindset by celebrating progress. When we’re always focusing on accomplishing the next goal, it can be easy to lose sight of the steps your child takes toward that goal each day. Help your children recognize and appreciate their progress by pointing out specific achievements, no matter how small. Reflect on growth from summer practice in specific areas, and compare work samples from the previous school year to highlight the strides they’ve made.
Help Your Child Get Organized for School
Did you know that getting organized can actually be fun? Help your child choose new school supplies and organize their binders, notebooks, backpack, and homework space. Having neat and organized materials will help students feel prepared to tackle the workload to come, and having fun school supplies in their favorite colors and patterns that they look forward to using will help boost their excitement for the school year.
When setting up your child’s workplace at home, talk with them about what they need to make homework time easier than last year—and even more enjoyable! Stock their work area with school supplies like pencils, different types of paper, markers, glue, etc. Choose and label a space for each type of item, and come up with a simple system for helping your child organize their homework each night. Eliminate distractions by setting up their workstation in a quiet area and selecting a designated area to store electronic devices while doing homework. Some students may work better with background noise, bright light, or snacks. Make sure to help them equip their homework area with everything they need to do their best work every night.
Finally, schedule homework time on a large calendar—ideally a whiteboard so you can make adjustments—and include after-school commitments. Empower students to have a say in their schedule and then hold them accountable for getting started on time each evening.
Create a Weekly Organization Routine
Now that you have a morning routine and a night routine, work with your child to develop a weekly organization routine so they begin each new week set up for success. Need help setting a routine? We offer a FREE back to school checklist to help get you going. Click the button below to get started.