Back to School Transitions
Back to school time can put an immense amount of added pressure on both kids and parents, but that pressure can turn into anxiety for children if they don’t feel a sense of stability and support as the new school year begins.
So instead of dreading the increased traffic, and early morning lunch making, try and work with your spouse to help make the transition back to school fun and something they look forward to every year. MOST IMPORTANTLY, make sure you are there on their first day to be supportive and let them know they matter. Remember, we only get 13 “First Days of School” with our children before they’re off to college!
“So how can I make the transition back to school fun for everyone?”
Good question! The answer really depends on the age of the children involved. Here are afew ideas to get you started:
Elementary School: For kids that are in elementary school it is extremely important to physically be there for them on their first day. Whether you are in a perfect marriage or not, this is a good time to put past differences aside and work together to support your children. Walk them to class, or to the bus stop together. This alone will help make them feel more at ease.
Junior High & High School: While it may be less important to physically walk your children to class if they are older, there are plenty of other ways to help them feel secure as they transition back to school. For instance, go over their new schedule (including sports), and simply discuss how they need you to be involved. This is not only a good idea from a parents’ stand point, but this simple act also lets your older children know that YOU know what they’ll be up to this year. It creates a sense of importance and reinforces the stability of the family.
New Traditions! Traditions help reinforce stability in your children’s lives. Creating new traditions to mark important milestones like starting a new grade in school create lasting memories, and let your children know they mean a lot to the family unit.
- Take a quick picture on the first morning in a special spot. Repeat in the same place every year. The kids will start to expect it and look forward to this traditional family moment.
- Select a new family motto at the beginning of every school year. Keep it simple and make sure it’s easily relatable to school. This can help kids stay focused on achieving their goals, and create a sense of team within the family. Example: “Follow Through” – Make sure to check in from time to time about how each family member is keeping the motto in mind.
- Movie night! Set aside one night a week or every other week to kick back as a family and watch a movie. No homework, no chores… just fun! This can help take some of the pressure off of the kids if they are feeling overwhelmed by homework and the new schedule. Friday nights can be a good time for this since bedtimes can be stretched a bit.