Back To School time can be a tremendously exciting, but also stressful, time of year. Children go from having all the free time they want, staying up late, sleeping in, vacationing, and generally being in "play mode" to early alarms, homework, studying, early bed times, and more responsibility. This transition is often not as easy as flipping a switch. So, here are some tips to help make your child's Back To School transition as smooth as possible.
- Ever heard the expression "You are what you eat"? Well, if you believe that to be true, then all of that ice cream, fast food, and those other sweet or greasy summery treats your kids have been gobbling down all season long aren't going to do them any good now. Those fatty, sugary foods will slow them down. A nutritious breakfast, smart lunch, and wholesome dinner will keep your kids full of the energy they need. For strong bodies as well as strong minds, your kids need special nutrients. One way to encourage healthy eating is by using the rainbow of colors which make up those healthy snacks. The more colors, the better. Start easing your child into a healthier choice of foods for the beginning of the school year, and you can avoid much of the stress, irritability, and sluggish behavior that they may otherwise experience.
- Along with a nutritious diet, sleep is important for children, especially during the school year. 8 hours of sleep is typically recommended, as the bare minimum needed for children. During the school day, children exercise their brains for hours. On top of that, they may have chores at home, pets to take care of, sports practice or other after school activities. The brain and body take a toll from a long day. Sleep allows time for the muscles and the brain to relax and refuel to be ready to start another day. With too little sleep, children may have trouble focusing in class, resulting in poor grades. It can also result in irritability which may lead to behavioral problems. A body that does not get enough rest may have a greater chance of injury during things like sports practice. Starting off the school year without enough sleep each night could result in problems focusing as well as an overall disconnect throughout the day. Make sure your kids are getting enough sleep so they can go to school focused and come home happy.
- When school starts, it often signals the beginning of other activities like sports practice, music lessons, clubs, and more. This transition is also effected by the parents. If both parents work, preparing for and getting to school and other activities must fit into a schedule that allows parents to get to and from work on time. This can be stressful for parents, and in turn, stressful for children. This situation can be made worse if the family is frantically running around trying to get ready and out the door. Making a schedule can help ease the stress. Things like preparing lunches the night before, establishing a homework time (for example, homework must be done right after school before sports practice), sticking to an appropriate bed time, and more are good examples. An easy way to follow a schedule is by getting a large calendar and putting it in a place where everyone can see it. Write down what has to be done each day and what time they have to be done. That will help keep everyone on the same page. Routine also helps make these other tips a whole lot easier.
4. Family Time/ Fun Time
- Often both parents and children can get caught up in the stress of homework, school projects, activities, and work. It's important to remember to have some down time. Having a family dinner may not always be possible with hectic schedules, but maybe there is one night a week where everyone can be there. If homework gets done early, allow your child a set amount of time to spend watching TV or playing a video game. Children should have something to look forward to. Plus, it helps them stay motivated. Go see a movie as a family one Saturday a month. Just make time to talk about what's going on at work and in school. Whatever it is, staying connected will help keep a strong family bond and support system that is important for children to succeed.
There are many other things not mentioned that could contribute to a stress free school transition. These are just a few. The most important thing to remember is that it is a transition, and you should approach it as one. Don't expect school to just fit into your life the way it is. Changes will have to be made and it may take a while to figure out a routine that works for everyone. Here's to a great school year!