The long summer months are now winding down, which means that the school year is about to begin. Hitting all the back to school sales to stock up on school supplies is the easy part, but preparing the children in your home for the new school year might require a little more planning. Here are some tips to make sure that first day is a success.
- Reestablish school routines: A few weeks before the first day of school, parents can begin preparing children to get back into the swing of things. This can include having children wake up and get dressed the same time every morning or getting children used to leaving the house every morning by planning morning activities.
- Talk to children about their feelings:For many children, returning to school can be a stressful time. New teachers, new classmates, and new routines can all cause children a great deal of anxiety. Take time to talk with your children about how they are feeling now that it’s time to go back to school. Talking together can help your kids work through their feelings and give them the confidence to face the new challenges each new school year brings.
- Reduce the first day anxiety: If you think back on your childhood, you probably remember that the first day of school is the most stressful day of the year. Parents can help children navigate this stress. Start by having the children organize their school supplies and pack their backpacks and by letting children pick out their own outfits for the first day. Many parents even take the time to visit the bus stop, or walk children through the drop off and pickup routines. By eliminating as many unknowns as possible, parents can help their children feel great about their first day.
The tips above apply to all children, but if you are caring for children who have recently joined your family through foster care or adoption, you might have to put some extra time and thought into helping them adjust to the new school year. After all, these children may be in a new school, on a new bus route, or separated from their familiar school friends. At the very least, they may be used to routines that were established by their birth parents or other caregivers, and they will need your support and guidance to make healthy and successful adjustments.
The Coalition for Children, Youth & Families is here to support you and your family as you gear up for the new school year. Check out some resources below, or reach out to a Resource Specialist today.