Monday, August 13, 2012

Back to School Angst and 7 Antidotes

Sleepless nights, irritability, and tears are all typical responses to the transition from summer to school. (I'm referring to the children in this article, although moms have been known to have similar symptoms!)

How can we help our children adjust to the back to school routine and build confidence in their ability to handle the new situation? There are a number of ways we can encourage back to school success and reduce the symptoms of-what I call- school-itis.

1.  Describe your feelings as a child about going back to school to normalize your kid's fears.
(I would tell my children that when I was teaching, I would feel first day anxiety too)
2. Avoid getting caught up in your child's emotional state. Let his feelings be his. Maintain a calm demeanor.
3.  For your youngster, go to the school (if allowed), walk the halls, and let the kids explore the playground. My co-author, Becky Danielson ,recommends doing a drop off dry run. Locate the classroom from the bus or car pool drop off point. Noting landmarks along the way (the library, office, etc.)
4. Take your middle or high school student to school (if permitted) to locate his classrooms and locker. Have him practice unlocking his locker-it can be tricky!
5. Encourage your older kids to connect with another student, so they can meet up for lunch on that first day.
6. Have a very positive attitude about the upcoming school year. Express confidence in your child's ability to handle the situation. This will transfer nicely to your child's view of himself and his circumstances. If the parent communicates to the child he is capable, the child will be more confident and then more successful.
7. Most importantly pray. Pray for and with your child for a smooth transition. Before my kids would leave the house I would give them the Aaronic blessing:  "May the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; may the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace" (found in Numbers 6: 24-26).

I pray you and your child will have a blessed first day of school.

I would love to have you share the things you do to ease the back to school blues.

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