My son and I have a lot of charts. He has a chore chart, a growth chart and a chart counting down the days until his next birthday (only 10 more months to go)! I, on the other hand, only have one chart. I started this chart on the last day of school and have been crossing the days off until August 28th — that’s right, Back to School!
Now don’t get me wrong here…summer is fun! The swimming, sunshine, playdates, spontaneity, bonding, staying up late, sleeping in, but let’s face it – summer can feel very long when you have a 42-inch human in tow. I’ve been longing for the day when I can go to the grocery in peace, and not worry about my child knocking over every bottle of wine or cereal box off an aisle display. I’d also like to be able to leave ANY store without an argument because I said “No” to buying a balloon, a stuffed hedgehog, a puppy, a gumball machine, etc. the list goes on. Sometimes my son will just point to things and ask, “Can we buy this?” without having a clue as to what he is looking at. And, queue the tantrum! Ah, it would be SO nice to finally go to a coffee shop and sit, drink and FINISH a cup of coffee. I’m not sure if I am more excited to ‘sit’ or just ‘finish’ a cup of coffee. Both those words excite me.
All summer shopping struggles aside, Back to School Day has been circled in red with a smiley face next to it on my chart, although my son does not share the same excitement.
We recently moved and I will be starting my son in a new school where he doesn’t have any friends or know any of the teachers. He was so excited to go back to school the last couple of years to see his friends, but this year excitement has been replaced with trepidation. He has the back to school blues!
After doing some research, I did find some useful tips that we are implementing to make this transition smoother. According to Becton Loveless from Education Corner, here are a few strategies to help your child (as well as a parent) cope with the new change.
There is nothing that will help your child maintain a positive attitude toward their new school than your positive attitude. If you’re concerned about the transition, and you let it show, your child will be concerned too. It’s okay to discuss your child’s fears and expectations, but reassure them they’re going to have a great year. Sometimes it’s helpful to let your child know that every other child is going through the same thing they are.
Let them know you’re in it together
Nothing is more reassuring to a child, especially a younger child, than knowing that you’re going to be with them every step of the way. No, you’re not going to sit with them in class, but you’ll be there for them before school, after school and will even be available during school, if needed. Volunteering at your child’s school or in their classroom can be an effective way of helping a struggling child adjust to their new school environment. If your child is older, help them select their classes and keep an open line of daily communication. Making sure you’re physically and emotionally available for your older child will help them make a smooth transition to their new school.
Get your child involved
Getting your child involved in school activities is a great way to ease their fears and help them quickly adjust to their new school. While you don’t want to force them into anything, you want to encourage participation in classes and activities that will foster new friendships and help them feel a part of the new school community – and less like an outsider. Older students who participate in school activities, clubs, or sports tend to feel more connected and perform better academically. Getting involved in extracurricular activities outside the classroom can help a child feel more connected inside the classroom.
Get some sleep
More and more studies confirm what many parents have known for years, getting a good nights sleep is necessary to have healthy, well-adjusted kids. Getting enough sleep prior to a new school year is also important – especially if your child is relocating to a new school. To make her transition easier, we recommend starting your child’s new school-year sleep routine several weeks before school starts. This will help ensure that her transition to a new school doesn’t include transitioning to a new sleeping schedule at the same time.