Helping Kids with a Smooth School Transition

Spiritual formation & Nursery Care (3)

Sharpen your pencils, parents!  The school year is upon us and there are always a lot of forms to complete and sign!  September is a time of new beginnings as families acclimate to a post-summer schedule. Life’s pace picks up.

As kids begin a new school year, they may be feeling a bit excited, scared, or even anxious. New teachers, new friends, new routines, perhaps a new school to maneuver. Parents can help kids have a smooth transition from summer to school.

5 Ways to Support Your Kids with School

school year tips
  1. Talk with your child about his/her goals for the school year.
    For younger kids it may be something like “learn to read this year”. For older kids it may include helping them choose appropriate after-school and extracurricular activities, having a homework plan, when to ask for additional help.
  2. Cut down on stress.
    One great way to manage stress (for kids and parents) is to make sure to get enough sleep.  Also important is ensuring that your kiddo isn’t overcommitted. Build-in some quiet time to their schedules (we ALL need that). Give kids tools like taking deep breaths to help calm them.  Discuss the importance of eating a good breakfast, drinking plenty of water, and eating healthy.

    Watch for significant signs of stress.  School transitions can be challenging.  While it’s normal to feel anxious, anxiety that lasts longer than the first few weeks is not. If your child’s sleep changes (too much or too little), their eating habits change, they are sad most of the time, constantly anxious, seek help Talk with the teacher and the school counselor.

    Empathize with your child’s stress. 
    Acknowledge that adjusting to new routines, school, situations is a part of life.  Coping with the changes of a new school year is a perfect opportunity to talk with your child to learn new, healthy coping skills.  Talk with your child before the first day of school.  Ask him/her how they are feeling about the new school year.  Have discussions about what concerns them.
  3. Get to know the teacher(s)
    Go to the back-to-school night and meet the teacher(s). Contact your child’s teacher(s) to discuss any learning disability or special need your child may have; make your concerns clear.
  4. Focus on the positive.
    Help your child be confident by modeling confidence. If he/she is feeling anxious about school, point out the benefits, and help keep their emotions in check.  If you are finding that here isn’t much to be positive about, take action while it’s still early in the year.
  5. Stick to a routine.
    We all do better when we know what to expect.  Create a routine that works for your child and your family. Routines also include having a homework routine. Figure out a time and place for homework and stick to it.

A Prayer for Families & Students

As change and transition begins to happen, calm any fears or anxieties. May moms, dads, and guardians joyfully entrust their children into the hands of our loving God. Bless their family with a strong community. Give them Your peace, patience, and joy as they watch their student navigate a new school year. Amen.

~Greg Holder

Parenting with Focus
The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds

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