This is an article I wrote for the blog Old House to New Home. I was super excited to be able to share my thoughts and ideas on Amanda’s site! It was my first experience as a guest blogger and Amanda was super awesome in letting me write for her! Her blog is GREAT! Full of wonderful recipes, home décor projects, crafts, and general information about life as a wife, mother, and teacher! Go check her out!
I am sharing this post with you now because we are already into our 3rd day of classes at JES. I have been seeing anxiety ALL around me (and INSIDE of me, as well!). Our students are stressed about bussing, their new teachers, and their new routines. Parents are stressing about how their children are coping with all the new changes they are experiencing. And teachers, well… I could do an entire blog post about everything that is going on in our heads right now!
Take a few minutes to read these 3 tips I have used with my own children. Tip #2 has been a lifesaver for our family. Tip #3 is a strategy that will become a life long tool as your children progress throughout their lives.
It’s that time of year again! Parents and children everywhere are getting ready to say goodbye to summer and hello to new teachers, new school supplies, and in some cases, new schools. It is an exciting time of the year for everyone but that excitement goes hand in hand with a lot of added stress that was virtually non-existent during the lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer! Being a teacher and a mother of two school aged children, I have a unique perspective on the whole back to school stress phenomenon and have 3 quick tips to help make the transition from the beach to the classroom as smooth as possible!
Tip #1. Start the “school routine” at least 2 weeks before school starts.
This one can be a little difficult to implement, but if you give yourself and your children a two week headstart, you will be thanking your lucky stars during the first official week of school! Gradually introduce the normal everyday routines that you used to follow before your wonderful summer vacation began. Sounds easy, right? Well, it’s not so easy for my family since we are a bunch of night owls who love to stay up late and sleep in as long as we can in the morning! Slowly, I have been trying to get my little ones back in to the routine of having a warm, relaxing shower after dinner, reading books together after their pyjamas are put on, and making sure they are tucked into their beds by 8:30 pm. I am also trying to “train” them and myself into getting up a little bit earlier each morning! By making these tiny changes ahead of time, our bodies will be better ready to deal with the hustle and bustle of the first few weeks of school.
Tip #2. Get a family calendar to record all appointments, activities, and important dates.
This has been a lifesaver for our family! With the beginning of the school year comes the beginning of extra-curricular activities as well (parents and children alike!). Sports, play dates, birthday parties, medical appointments, and a million other things come up. For my family of five, our family calendar has been a indispensable tool that has kept us all on track and ORGANIZED throughout the entire year. We write everything in our family calendar so that we know who needs to do what,where, and when! School projects, figure skating practices and competitions, hockey practices and tournaments, parent-teacher nights, volunteer commitments, and even date nights are all placed in the family calendar so that everyone gets to do what they want and need to do. When our commitments are in the book, it is easy for my husband and I to take a quick glance each Sunday to talk how we are going to tackle our family’s busy week. Whether you want to use a traditional paper calendar, like we do, or a digital one… for goodness sakes! JUST USE ONE!
Tip #3. Talk, talk, and talk some more with your children.
I have two school aged children who are complete opposites of each other. My eldest is a social butterfly. She loves school, she can’t wait to go back to meet her new teacher and hang out with her friends on a daily basis. She thrives at school, can’t get enough of learning, and is a happy-go-lucky kid. My youngest, however, doesn’t like to go to school, is more of a loner, and is showing signs of anxiety about having to return in September. For the past few weeks, I have been talking to him about the new school year that is quickly approaching. I am allowing him to take control of choosing his school supplies, we talk about bullies, about his new teacher and the changes that he can expect moving from Kindergarten to Grade 1. During these conversations, I learned that he worries about many things – from being too tired at school to not having anyone to play with at recess time. He worries about how loud it will be in the lunchroom and what will happen if can’t find a certain room in the school. It is heartbreaking for a parent to hear that his/ her child is worrying about school, but by taking a few minutes each day to talk about the new school year can mean a world of difference to your child. Also, during the first few weeks of school, it is important to ask, “How was your day?” and probe further when your child answers “Good” or “Fine”. Your gentle encouragement and listening ear can do wonders for your child’s anxiety and coping strategies from the first day of school in September until the last day of school in June.
Thanks for reading! Have a great day!