Are your kids mentally prepared for the new school year?
It’s that time again…time to face the madness behind a new school year. But, does it really have to be as hectic and chaotic as most make it out to be? Sure there’s the school shopping for supplies, backpacks, and clothes and getting back into the normal schedules of sleeping, eating, and studying. But, being mentally ready is just as important. It can be pretty daunting for say a Freshman entering high school and a Senior facing his/her last year of high school. The key is to stay as far away from drama as possible as it will only build onto the existing stressors of going back to school. Our job as parents is to help our kids feel comfortable and calm about going back to school. Here are four simple ways to help build your kid’s mental state.
Keep a planner.
We, as parents, have busy lives with work, school, parenting, side businesses, you name it. We forget sometimes that our kids are just as busy with school, homework, sports, clubs, and other extra-curricular activities. Using a planner will help students be better organized overall, improve productivity, remember more and forget less, and greatly reduce their stress levels. Ironically, it will reduce the time they are in front of screen which, in today’s world, steals a lot of our youngster’s time. Parents might want to create a family calendar of events for instance hanging a calendar in a common area in the home listing daily activities or appointments or creating a Google calendar making it easier to access via mobile devices.
Tune into favorite playlists.
While kids can’t listen to their favorite music at school during class, they can certainly tune in on the way to school. This will help amp up their mood, reduce anxiety that comes with starting a new school year, raise motivation levels, and put them in the right mind-set to face any challenges they will endure during the day.
Explore other interests.
As we want our kids to excel in school and in life, we often advise them to focus mostly on core curriculum - English language arts, math, science, and social studies. Schools also have several elective courses that students can choose from including art, video production, music, photography, journalism, or computer science. Encourage your child to choose electives that will help them explore various interests, either as a hobby or potential future career. This will surely break the monotony of sitting through core curriculum giving them the mental break they desire.
Get and stay connected.
For some kids, a new school may mean transitioning from pre-school to kindergarten, elementary to middle school, middle school to high school, or to a totally new school district. So, friends from the previous school may not be attending the new school. Therefore, a new stressor definitely includes making new friends. As students makes new friends, you’ll want to be sure to forewarn them that it’s not likely that the friends they make initially will be the friends they exit school with. Inform them that it’s perfectly normal as, just like them, everyone is exploring and trying to find the right circle that they can be a part of. Encourage them to 1) stay connected with friends from previous school years, 2) stay engaged with parents and siblings, perhaps bringing school happenings into the fabric of dinner conversations, 3) join a school sport or club, and 4) participate in tutoring for subjects that might be challenging.