For parents and kids alike, the new school year can be exciting and full of new opportunities. It can also be a source of stress and frustration. Parents are inundated with papers to complete and return, upcoming events to record, check writing, meetings, coordinating schedules and rides, after-school activities, etc. For students, it can elicit feelings about being successful, accepted, supported, and safe, popularity and fitting in, with who will they eat lunch or what will they eat, what to wear, how will they get to school, etc. The lists are never-ending.
IF you are a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of parent and IF that works for you AND your kids, then great. You can stop reading now. For the rest of us…I hope you find something that will help you with the summer-to-school transition.
So what can parents do to help minimize all this emotion?
- Acknowledge it. First, we have to take our heads out of the beach sand for a moment and realize that this is a transition and it is coming up quickly. Also acknowledge this transition can be hard on us and our kids. Ignoring it won’t make it so.
- Prepare your mind. Make a list of all the things you know will be changing and coming your way. Get it out of your head and onto paper. This may help to relieve the internal mental churnings and allow you to observe the list and think about possible solutions for each item. For example…
- If you know that the paperwork trail is overwhelming to you….maybe you can think about creating a place for all school forms to go so they don’t get lost.
- Or if you know that the busy schedule gets you stressed, plan to take a little time each day to relax or exercise or do some other actviity that helps you reduce that stress so you can be more present and positive.
- Sleep. I don’t know about you but our sleeping patterns change in the summer: later nights lead to later, slower mornings. Decide whether you need to start going to bed and getting up a little earlier each day as you get closer to that first day of school OR will you bite the bullet and just get up early for that first day, struggle for a few days/weeks and let your body adjust to the new routine? Whatever works for you, but make the choice.
- Healthy Meal Planning. The new school year may also bring changes and challenges to meal planning. You can do a little prep work here too.
- Think about what worked in the past.
- Research and save recipes and meal ideas that are healthy easy, and quick in a file or on pinterest for easy access.
- Use a whiteboard to write the meal options/ideas for the week
- Create a snack bin
- Put out veggies (and fruit) after school. Kids will pick at it as they walk by.
- School lunch… discuss with your kdis about making healthy choices
- Bag lunch…. find creative and healthy options so they don’t get bored.
- Share dinner time responsibilities. This is great if you have older kids but younger kids can help out too.
- School supplies. Getting all those supplies can be expensive and stressful for some. My daughter loves shopping and organzing her supplies, my son hates it. Here are some things we do…
- Make a organized list.
- Get in a mindset of fun
- Get creative…my daughter likes to color coordinate classes. The best part is that it helps with organization all year long.
- Re-use…whether it’s from last year or a hand-me-down, if it’s in good shape why buy more?
- Set your priorities… what is more important to you? time or money? Shop accordingly.
- If you are able, buy backpacks and supplies for local children who cannot afford it.
- Homework. It’s coming, why not prepare for it. Create a space that is welcoming and conducive for homework…quiet, well-lit, distraction-free, and comfortable. Allow your kids to help create and decorate the space.
- Visualize a great year. What does it look like? What does your student want out of this year? Talk about it and set some goals. Create a vision board or a sign to serve as a reminder and motivator.
- Talk about fears and anxieties. Discuss steps that can be taken to reduce the anxiety so your student can feel more in control and prepared. Also make sure perspectives and expectations are realistic. Help your children develop tools to handle real life. Plus, always get professional help when needed. Here are some other ideas to consider…
- exercise routine
- school guidance or other services
- academic coaching
- health and lifestyle coaching
- activites and interests outside of school
What do you do to help with the school year transition?
please share your ideas