In the month of June, the summer days feel long and carefree. However, now that it’s August, the summer days seem to be disappearing faster than you can plan for them. This means one thing, back to school is just around the corner.
Whether you have young children, teenagers, or college-bound young adults, this can be a challenging time of the year. For kids starting school or starting at a new school, the stress of the unknown can be overwhelming. For kids, teens, and parents, the changes that come with the end of the summer and getting back into a school routine can be a bit of an adjustment.
There is no fool-proof way to make the back to school season, completely stress-free, but you can do a few things to make the transition a bit easier.
We’ve put together our AHCC Research team suggestions on what has worked for us in easing the transition for our kids and ourselves back into a new September routine. If you have some suggestions on how to make getting ready for back to school a bit easier, do share them on our AHCC Research Facebook community page.
Learn The New Schedule
Along with the new daily school routine schedule, you’ll likely be juggling new after-school activities. This is a lot for anyone to handle – parents and kids. To make sure that you and your kids are able to really thrive during this time of the year, it helps to be super-organized.
Plan out school lunches in advance, have a strategy for morning breakfast, make sure the school bags are packed the night before, and know who is doing the drop-off and pick-up duties for each day (and activity). Yes, this is a lot to plan for, but by spending extra time in advance planning out the weekly and daily schedules, you’ll save time, energy, and stress trying to make everything work.
Depending on the age of your kids, you can ask them to make their own lunches or to be responsible for making sure they have everything they need for the school day. It is super important in the first few weeks of the new routine to not put too much pressure on your kids to do everything and go everywhere.
Pay attention to signs that your kids are feeling pressured, stressed, tired, or simply not excited about the day ahead. Be ready to make adjustments and to remind your kids that they have a voice and encourage them to tell you how they feel about the new schedule. Some kids thrive on having activities every day after school and other kids need more downtime to relax and recharge.
Be Ready For Back To School Stress
Think of how you react to a new environment, new job, or a change in routine. This is exactly what your kids are dealing with. While going back to school might not seem to be a stressful experience, it most definitely can be.
This stress can come from nervousness and fear of fitting in. There could be things happening during the day that are causing negative stress. For older kids, the power of social media has changed the school experience and has resulted in school-related stress overflowing into the rest of the day.
Talk to your kids about bullying and make sure they know who they can talk to at school if they’re being bullied. Make sure your kids know that they deserve to feel safe, comfortable, and protected at school.
Don’t hesitate to talk to your child’s teacher about the stress or concerns your child is displaying and talking about. The sooner negative situations are identified, the faster they can be solved.
And of course, it is normal for the first few days of school to be filled with nervous excitement – but just be ready for it if this nervous excitement becomes something else.
Make Sure There Is Downtime
Everyone needs time to sit and chill out. This includes your young kids through to your teenagers. While your kids might want to participate in every after-school activity and be busy on the weekends, think of how well you do when you’re overscheduled.
Just as you feel overwhelmed, fatigued, rushed, and stressed with too many things on the go – the same holds true for your kids. Make sure your kids have time each day to simply sit and play, read a book, play in the backyard, or whatever else makes them happy.
You also need downtime during the week, so if possible, make it a habit to enjoy some free time once your kids have gone to bed. Yes, we know, easier said than done, but remember your kids will respond to your stress levels, so the more relaxed and chilled you can be, the easier it is for your kids to do the same.
Enjoy This Special Time
Your kids are getting older, they’re exposed to new opportunities and people, they’re developing their likes and dislikes, and really finding their path. The school year is a very special time of the year and it’s important for you to give your kids the time and attention they need to succeed.
While graduating from high school and starting college might seem a long way off for your kids right now, remember time flies. Take the time to enjoy seeing your kids learn and discover their favorite subjects, interests, and hobbies. Remember that the school years are important years for your kids, so try your best to make this time fun and enjoyable.
We hope you have a great end of your summer and that you can use these tips to easily transition into the school year. Remember, the fun doesn’t need to stop with the end of August, there is still plenty of beach, picnic, and backyard playtime weather in September and October. Share with us on our AHCC Research Facebook community page, how you keep the summer fun going during the school year.