Kids who start school refreshed, encouraged, and curious feel less stress than those who are under pressure, do not feel a parent’s guidance, and are worried about logistics of school.
Here are some tips to help you and your family transition from summer and get new school year off to a great start.
1. Recap the summer
Take a moment to REFLECT on the joys of your summer. Invite each family member to say one thing they enjoyed most over the summer. This gives the family time to reflect on their blessings and creates a sense of gratitude and comfort.
2. Affirm summer changes
Kids grow over the summer physically, emotionally and mentally. They may have challenged themselves in summer activities, made new friendships, learned new things, started a new hobby or found a new interest. Offer each child (and, of course, you could do this with your partner) some words of VALIDATION. This can go like this:
“I’m proud of you for…”
“I noticed you grew/learned/improved in …”
“Thank you for …”
This positive affirming statement will offer them a feeling of pride and reassurance which is key for kids starting school.
3. Outline what's next
Provide a STRUCTURE so they have something to look to for comfort. Spend time with your kids talking about the first week of school. Let them know anticipation unease is normal. If they are going to a new school go with them the first day or better yet visit the school before they start.
4. Check in
During the first couple weeks of school CHECK IN as a family. Have dinner together, go on a picnic, have an evening walk together. This together time offers a perfect opportunity to talk about how school is starting out, observe their level of excitement and engagement compared to their anxiety or anticipation level. It also sets the tone for parental involvement for the year.
If parents are involved at the beginning of the school year kids will feel more guidance even if the family dinners tapper off a bit as the year progresses.
Have a Happy New School Year!
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