GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Believe it or not -- school will be back in session before you know it. And, sometimes getting your kids back into the groove of things takes a little time, or can even bring about a little anxiety.
Dr. Matt Clark joined My West Michigan with some tips to help your kids transition:
1. Anticipate and address your child’s anxiety.
Talk with your children about their feelings and invite them to participate in a conversation that gives them some sense of control. Never embarrass, discount or demean your children’s feelings. Ask them how they would like to be helped in this transition — what things parents can do and they can do as partners to make the first day of school a pleasant beginning. This is called the empathic process, and if you invest children in the discussion, they are more likely to follow a smooth outcome and go happily to school.
2. Manage your own anxiety. Maintain a positive attitude about summer ending,
3. Ease back into scheduled days.
To ease the transition, about a week before the first day of school, start their bedtime routine about 10 minutes earlier each night and wake them up 10 minutes earlier each morning, every day, until they’re back on track. Start a bedtime schedule one week in advance of school so that your child gets at least 10 hours of sleep at night. As an adult, we know how cranky we get when we are tired, and so do our children. Remember that they don’t have our coping skills.
4. Stay connected to nature.
Going back to class doesn’t mean your kids have to say farewell to outdoor fun.
5. Get back to healthy eating.
6. Seek out one-on-one time with your child
7. If attending a new school:
- Try to visit your child’s school at least one week in advance. Let your child get familiar with classrooms, hallways and important offices such as the principal and the nurse.
- If possible, find out if there are any friends, relatives or neighbors in their class. Knowing a child and creating a buddy system makes the transition move more smoothly.
- Do your homework: If possible, talk to the teacher, the principal, the guidance counselor in advance. Show both your interest and your goodwill. Tell them of any concerns you have in regard to your children’s health, and apprise them of any learning problems in advance.
- A ‘safety first’ attitude is a very important part of preparing for the first day of school. You want your children to know traffic safety as well as physical safety. Young children should know their name, how to spell it, their telephone number and the number of a safe and responsible adult that is designated by their parents. Teach your child the proper way in advance to deal with bullies by reporting them to either a teacher or counselor.
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