Starting the School Year Strong: Tips for Parents

Going back to school can be as stressful for a parent as it is for a child. With the arrival of the new school year comes the need to adjust daily routines. Fortunately, there are some simple ways that parents can take control to ensure a smooth back-to-school transition.

Back-to-School Quick Tips for Parents

  • Re-establish bedtime and mealtime routines, preferably a few weeks before the first day of school. Also, help your child organize their clothes, lunch, and backpack for each school day. By establishing routines, your child will readily adapt to their new schedule, making any change more bearable.
     
  • Visit the school with your child before classes start if possible. This reduces the enormity of the transition and helps your child feels more secure in a new and unfamiliar environment.
     
  • It’s a new school year and a clean slate. Offer your child the opportunity to take on new challenges without being bogged down by reminders of last year’s difficulties. Speak instead about how your child has matured over the summer and how they are more than ready for the next adventure.  
     
  • To avoid the stress of rushing out the door, schedule extra time in the mornings so your child has plenty of time to get themselves up, dressed, and ready to leave on time.
     
  • Re-establish family dinners and take this time to listen to your child’s thoughts and concerns. By listening, focusing on the positives, and engaging your child in possible solutions, they have the assurance of knowing they are supported when away from home.
     
  • Above all, encourage and empower your child by letting them know you have faith in their abilities. If they are having difficulty with reading, remind them of how they were able to read their favorite book along with you in no time at all. Citing past examples and building on past accomplishments reminds your child of how far they have already come.

By addressing potential areas of anxiety in advance and making yourself available, you can reduce your stress and provide positive support for your child as we transition into the new school year.

About the Author
Carol Lee Smith LICSW, is Child & Family Therapist in Wellspring Counseling’s Bellevue office.