Summer is winding down, and school is fast approaching. While this time of year brings excitement, it also triggers stressors in parents and children alike. Children wonder so many things: What classroom will they be in? Who will be in their class? How will their teacher handle their idiosyncrasies? Parents also have their own set of questions regarding their children’s return to school. Follow the tips below to help ease the whole family into the new routine of school and to help everyone conquer the back-to-school blues.
Steps to Conquer the Back-to-School Blues:
- List the positives of each possible classroom assignment and teacher. The mere mention of your child’s classroom placement may cause him, and you as parents, concern. Instead of worrying about it, come up with a list with your child about the positives of each classroom option. Be creative and help your child explore the small (but potentially positive) details of being in every classroom available to him. For example, one classroom may be closer to the washroom, or one might have a door to the playground. Listing the positives of each potential teacher/teacher’s aide is also recommended. This can help put you and your child at ease by recognizing that there are great things about any classroom possibility.
- Remember that there are opportunities to see friends outside of the classroom. When the class list is posted and you and your child find out that he may not have many friends in his classroom, remind him that he can see his friends before and after school, at lunch, at recess, and in elective-type classes. Also, if there are children of concern in your child’s classroom, it is also helpful to remember that there will be some opportunities throughout the day to mingle with other kids. Listing the positives of some, or all, of the kids in your child’s class is also recommended here. This will prepare your child for the school year and for how he can get along with the peers in his classroom.
- Communicate with your child’s teacher prior to the school year beginning. Communication is key in planning for a successful school year. Open communication with your child’s teacher will foster trust, and will make you and your child more comfortable. This is especially the case with a child who may have some challenges in the classroom. While your child’s teacher will have access to his IEP or 504 plan, a discussion between you and the teacher allows for more personal communication and can create an opportunity to discuss new strengths, motivators, and challenges that your child may have developed over the summer months.
Following these steps can help you and your child breathe easier in the last few weeks of summer before school starts. These ideas can also be used throughout the school year, as issues inevitably arise. Positivity and open communication will benefit your family all the time, especially when dealing with the back-to-school blues. If you feel that the anxiety of returning to school is becoming too overwhelming, contact a mental health professional.