The end of summer and the beginning of the school year is filled with mixed emotions for children around the country. Some children are excited while others are anxious with the impending change they are about to endure.
For many, summer is filled with barbeques, late nights, and a lot of unstructured time. Moving back into a structured routine can start anyone stressing. The school year begins whether we like it or not. Easing the stress is actually not as hard as one might think.
As the last few weeks wind down, beginning to get into a routine can help anyone out. Returning to earlier bedtimes and rising early the last week or two of the summer can help out. As we begin to set these times our bodies are able to adjust in a more gentle way. Keep in mind this is a good idea and typically realized after school starts.
Every year, parents question why their children are so cranky the first week of school. There are so many stressors on students due to the tremendous amount of new information and new experiences needing to be processed. Getting the sleep routine down will prove to be a psychological lifesaver. As they acclimate to the routine of sleep, and get the proper amount of sleep, it allows them to process all the new changes from a position of strength. All of us know how we operate when we are sleep deprived. Remember the early years with our little cherubs? Talk about stress.
Sleep is an essential piece of the psychological puzzle to minimize stress. The next part is to get those school supplies. Being fully prepared for the first day of school helps students have a sense of safety and a feeling of being included. We have all arrived at a meeting missing some papers. Upon realization of what we are lacking, we fall into a negative silent self dialog and immediately feel outside of things. We all like to be included. Starting school on a positive note can help springboard the school year into a wonderfully anticipated experience.
Bringing your children to buy school supplies to help is ideal, but that may not be feasible. It is very important to show your child what you purchased and how itmatches the school supply list. There have been many times in the classroom where students are upset the first day because they don’t have the necessary supplies only to find out that it was with them all along. Understanding what they have and for what subject can assist in feeling a bit safer in this new environment. It’s a new environment whether it’s a new or the same school. Keep in mind that it’s all new, at least for the first couple of days.
Children have a lot of thoughts going on in their minds whether or not they verbalize them. When we can minimize their worries through the easily controllable things such as sleep and school supplies, they may be more attentive to the new requirements told to them by their new teachers. Children typically want to please. They want to figure out their new teacher or teachers. Students are continually “reading” people to help them negotiate the school year.
Consider for a moment that students metaphorically have a new job, a new boss (or bosses), and new requirements each year. Until this is figured out and negotiated, their bodies will exhibit stress-like behaviors. Helping your child through this transition will minimize their stress levels. Consider yourselves transition managers for your children. Assisting them to become independent is what we all want for our children.
Depending on the age of your child, he or she may be open, moderately resistant, or they will outright shut you down with this assistance. This is an area where you have to feel it out. If your child is capable and independent, you don’t have to do much. On the other hand, if your child needs help you may have to pull the parent authority card.
Taking care of certain basic needs such as a good sleep routine, being prepared for class and a positive attitude can make all the difference as your child enters another year of school. Enjoy the rest of the summer and make it memorable for you and your family. Time together is important and supporting one another makes the journey of life much easier.