Back to School Survival GuideCherilyn Ashley
The long summer days of children sleeping in late, spending late nights playing with friends, and running around in flip-flops and bathing suits is coming to an end. With bells ringing, busses moving, and teachers waiting, students will have to face the reality of a new school year. Let’s be honest, you and your children would like to postpone summer’s end as long as possible; however, back-to-school procrastinating creates its own pitfalls, sets an unwanted tone for the school year, and places stress on you and your family. To help you and your child transition into the new school year with excellence, here is a back-to-school survival guide.
The Early-Morning Back-to-School Grind:
You and your child will find that the first week back-to-school is difficult because you fade into exhaustion. You will find you feel like you do at Spring Daylight Savings time, when we turn the clocks ahead one hour. Your children will be exhausted, but they will meet perky teachers who are ready to go and excited for the new school year. This dichotomy is caused by teachers starting back-to-school two to three weeks before students and have become accustomed to the school day. Back-to-School survival tip #1: Be proactive by preparing your child for their school schedules a few weeks in advance. Start the process by having your child go to bed and wake up at the school time. This is not an easy task and will be a challenge, but it will be worth it when school starts. Typically, it takes about a few weeks to get a new habit to stick, so make sure you start far enough in advance.
The Anxiety a New Year Brings:
Starting a new school year for your child may be easy peezy, but for many others it is a source of anxiety. Anxiety in your children can stem from them starting a new class, wondering if they will make new friends, or even if the teacher will like them or if they will like the teacher. Back-to-School survival tip #2: Introduce your child to their new classroom setting and environment. Start by getting a list of students in your child’s classroom and schedule a play date prior to the start of school. This is a great way for you to meet the other parents, establish friendships, and coordinate get-togethers. Make sure you attend any scheduled school activity where your child can see their classroom and meet their teacher(s). If your child has severe anxiety, a scheduled meet and greet with their teacher may be needed. For younger children, a trip to the library to check out books that cover the topics of going back-to-school and what the first day is like can ease their anxiety. Children of all ages can get anxious about Back-To-School, so have an open dialog with your child to talk out their anxiety. Lastly, getting to school and being picked up can cause your child a lot of anxiety. How is your child going to get to school? Is your child going to walk? If so, walk the walk with your child several times before the start of school. Is a bus going to pick them up? If so, then you need to show your child the location where the bus will pick them up. If possible, introduce them to the bus driver. Are you going to pick them up? Again, make sure your child knows exactly where the pick-up area is at his or her school. By being proactive and introducing your child to these things, you are taking the proper steps to limit your child’s anxiety.
The Run to the Store for Back-to-School Supplies:
Back-to-School shopping can be stressful! Parents and children can often explode into giant messes in the Back-to-School supply area of any store, and we don’t want that. Back-to-School Survival tip #3: Prep before you venture out to purchase Back-to-School supplies. Start by not relying on the retail store to provide you with a Back-to-School list of supplies. It is inevitable that the supply list you need will have run out when you arrive to purchase your supplies at a store. So, eliminate the stress upfront by going onto your school’s website and downloading the supply list. Avoid the rush by shopping early. Shop from the comfort of your living room by shopping online or by utilizing a purchasing app so a store representative pulls the items you need. Want to save a few dollars on supplies? Shop for supplies early. This is where there is less demand for these items and retailers offer the greatest savings. Additionally, at the end of Back-to-School, many school staples become clearance items and are great to get for the following year. The key here is the “early bird” gets the supplies, saves the money, and avoids the stress.
Excitement for the First Day of School:
Back-to-School Survival tip #4: Create a fun way to make the first day of school special. Remember back in the day when your mom made the first day of school an exiting event? She started by making you a special breakfast, the camera had to come out and that historic, first-day-of-school picture was taken, and moms everywhere made a fuss when they droped you off on that special day with hugs and kisses. After the film was developed, your mom would sit you down and point out how much you changed from last year and how proud she was of you. Wow what a memory keepsake! In my house, these first day traditions have been passed onto my children. If you don’t have those traditions for the first day of school, then create your own. Create a fun count down calendar with activities leading up to that first day of school. Invite your child’s friends over for an end of summer party or create a first-day note for your child’s teacher.
Surviving Back-to-School comes down to your family being prepared because you created a system that works for your entire family. Start with having a family discussion where your family sets school goals and creates routines. Fun and excitement with zero stress or anxiety for that first day back will create keepsake memories and keep your children calm and ready-to-learn. This will make both school and learning exciting.