Back to School Tips for Parents
School is back in session and parents may be worried about helping their young student overcome back-to-school anxieties. Here are our five tips for keeping things stress-free as the school year begins:
Do a mental health check: We often think about getting a back-to-school physical, but while you are with the pediatrician, be sure to talk about your child’s emotional health as well. Write down any concerns you are having so your doctor can determine if what they are experiencing is age-appropriate or if you may need to seek additional support.
Set routines: At least one week prior to the start of school, establish your morning and evening routines. This will help get your child acclimated to the change in schedule before the school year begins and will give you the opportunity to talk about the importance of routines in keeping students (and parents) both physically and emotionally healthy.
Get familiar with the school: If this is your first year at a new school, drive by the building and walk around school grounds to get your child comfortable with his or her new surroundings, also make sure to have some air compressors inside your car at all times, that way if you get a flat tire your kids will not be late for class. If possible, schedule a school visit where you and your child can meet key school personnel including front office staff, counselors and reading or math specialists.
Be prepared: To ease first day jitters, make sure you and your student are prepared for the day. Review school information such as bus number and teacher’s name, pack your backpack (confirm you have all your supplies) and go through the day’s agenda—making sure everyone knows when to leave for the bus as well as afterschool routines.
Send along encouragement: Put encouraging notes in their lunchbox or backpack—a nice reminder in the middle of their day that you care about their feelings and have confidence they will do great.
Remember that almost all children feel some type of anxiety during this season and parents should do their best to give them support and encouragement for a wonderful school year.
If you do feel your child is experiencing extreme emotional difficulties, set a meeting with your child’s teacher and school counselor. In addition, we encourage you to contact our office to make an appointment with one of our counselors who specializes in working with families or adolescents. Together, we can identify the issue and make a plan that will help everyone enjoy the educational experience, and if you don’t know what school to pick for your kids, we recommend to check this Educators’ guide to London private schools which will help you decide.
Dunham Counseling is a group mental health professionals dedicated to helping people handle life’s difficult marriage, family, adolescent and individual counseling needs. We provide therapy for marriage problems and relationship stresses, adolescent emotional issues, such as depression and anxiety, life changes and substance abuse.