The start of a new school year can be both exciting and scary for children. They get to see their friends, learn new material, create projects, and many other things. At the same time, they are in a new grade (and possibly a new school), the work may be getting harder, and they are unsure how it will compare to the previous year. They may feel nervous or anxious about these changes.
As a parent, you want your child to be successful and happy. There are several ways that you can support them in the new school year and help to get things started off on the right foot:
Listen to your children’s concerns. Engage in open dialogue about the upcoming year. What are they excited about? What are they nervous about? Take the time to listen and validate their concerns. Although it may not seem like a big deal to you as an adult, in their mind, it may be very important. Children have not yet had the same experiences as adults and do not deal with things in the same way. Provide reassurance and guidance in helping them to work through challenges. Be alert to changes in their behavior, mood, or school performance that may indicate something is troubling them.
Talk to teachers ahead of time. If you know that your child struggles in math or has a difficult time sitting still, talk to the teacher at the start of the year. Let them know your concerns and discuss ideas for helping your child to be more successful. By voicing your concerns, you also allow the teacher to be more assertive in paying attention to these areas and identifying problems early on. Develop ways that you can work together with the teacher to support your child and help them to have a more productive year.
Slowly shift back into the school routine. During the summer you may have let your children stay up later and sleep in longer. With the start of school, they will have to get used to getting up earlier and being ready for the day. Rather than suddenly changing their bedtime, slowly move it up by 15 to 20 minutes at a time. This will help them to readjust at a more natural rate and allow their body to ease into a new sleep routine. Create a plan for packing lunches, picking out clothing, and getting homework done.
Consider counseling. If your child has a lot of anxiety about going back to school, is having trouble adjusting to changes, or is exhibiting behavioral concerns, consider counseling or therapy. This can help your child to work through these challenges in a safe, supportive environment. They can develop more effective methods of dealing with their emotions and the situations they may encounter.
It is important to keep lines of communication open between not only you and your child, but also with their teachers and the school. Success is enhanced by everyone working together for a common purpose. You may notice behaviors at home that the teacher is not seeing in school or vice versa. Regular updates and discussions can help to address and resolve these issues before they become more serious.
If your child is having difficulties adjusting to school, Safe Harbor Christian Counseling can help. Our staff is trained in dealing with a wide variety of issues and helping children to feel more confident and self assured. By working through their problems, they can focus on making the most of the new school year. To learn more about our counseling services and how they can help your child in school and life, please call us today at 1-800-305-2089 or visit www.safeharbor1.com.