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Back to School Basics

Hannah Hopper

When summer comes to an end and the school year rolls around again, it can be a hectic and overwhelming transition for many kids. Whether you’re feeling relieved that the kids will have school again or feeling stressed that there will be a fuller schedule to manage, it can also be a stressful time for kids as they anticipate a new classroom, a different teacher, and another grade. The National Association of School Psychologists has an article detailing some quick and easy tips for helping your child transition out of summer mode and into the new school year.

Each kid will adjust differently with going back to school and a lot of this depends on the child’s personality and attitude towards change, but there are some things that you can do to help your children in the process. Some of these ideas might just make your life a little easier too.

Turn Off Non School Related Screens

Instead of starting the day with YouTube videos, iPad games, or playing around on a cellphone, encourage your child to do other things in the morning before school. Screens can distract from the learning process and put your child’s brain on autopilot before the school day has even started. Your child will be more prepared to engage in learning and tackle whatever their school day holds if you keep screens out of their morning routine throughout the entire school year.

Set Aside a Spot for Homework

Each child should have a designated spot in the house for completing homework, because studies show that children retain more when learning new information in the same location (including using the same chair at a table). Using the same spot will also help minimize distractions and children will be able to focus more when the are sitting in the designated homework area.

Physical and Mental Health Check-up

Go in to see your family pediatrician to discuss any health concerns you have and before you get too far along in the school year. Your pediatrician will be able to help you gauge if your concerns are age-appropriate and if there are any other health issues to look in to. If your child had any issues with anxiety or bullying in the previous school year, they may need more support than what a school counselor can offer. Consider sending your child to see a therapist that they can check in with regularly if any school or family issues arise during the year.

Make Lunches the Night Before

Help your kids make their lunches the night before to avoid the morning scramble of packing lunches and frantically searching to find the lunchbox that may have gone missing over the summer. Packing the night before will also give you more time to help your kids choose healthier options for their lunch.

Establish Bedtime and Mealtime Routines

Kids thrive in structured environments and knowing what to expect in their routines, so establishing bedtime and mealtime routines will help your kids to know what to expect each day when they come home. School days are spent in structured environments and continuing this at home will help children who have difficulty behaving at home.

Even if the initial few weeks back to school are a little rough, remember that there is an entire school year for establishing new routines and habits with your kids. Very often, time and a few creative strategies will be enough to help your kids get back on track.

If you are needing extra support with parenting or helping your kids transition back to school, it may be helpful to see one of our counselors at Symmetry Counseling. Call 312-578-9990 to schedule an appointment today.

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