In your experience as a child therapist, what would you say are some of the most important things parents should be aware of when it comes to kids’ transition back to school?
The start of the new school year can be stressful for some children since they may struggle with handling unknown situations. This includes starting new classes, having new teachers and managing a new workload. All of these unknowns can create worry and anxiety. The best strategies to manage these emotions are to be as prepared as possible for the transition while ensuring your child’s feelings are heard and validated. Some practical things parents can do to help their children manage the unknowns are:
Organize their school materials well in advance.
Find out which teacher/s they have as well as which peers are in their classes.
Take a tour of the classroom/school and meet the teacher/s.
Plan and implement organized, consistent morning and evening routines.
It is important to also remember to highlight the positive aspects of returning to school.
If your child is feeling worried about the upcoming transition, reach out to the school principal or vice principal and ask to come in for a visit before the school year begin. Remember, it’s ok to advocate for what your child needs! They should be more than willing to accommodate you.
What are some strategies for helping kids adjust to being back in the classroom after a summer of outdoor fun and play?
Although transitioning from outdoor activities to indoor activities is a shift, it’s important to remind your children that there are lots of fun things to do inside as well. Have a discussion with them about what they enjoyed in the past and what they can look forward to during the new school year. It can be helpful to start doing these activities with them as the school year comes closer (ie, craft activities, art, board games, card games).
Are there any differences in your view between how girls and boys adjust to returning to school?
Girls and boys equally struggle with the transition back to school, but the stressors might be different. Foster open communication about what might be worrying them and don’t forget to be strength based. Point out the things that you know your child will do well with and enjoy.
What do you think of how kids are over scheduled with extracurricular activities these days? How much is too much?
It’s important to involve your children in extracurricular activities, but remember too many activities can interfere with other things, such as completing schoolwork, getting necessary rest and spending time as a family. Listen to what your child wants to do and don’t over
schedule his/her time. It’s equally important to have free time just as much as it is to have structured time. Free time fosters things such as imagination, problem solving and conflict resolution, all crucial tools to help your child become a well-rounded individual!
Any practical advice for parents to help their kids stay organized and not be overwhelmed by new classes, teachers, and assignments?
When managing assignments, help your child get into a routine. Ensure they have the necessary materials and are aware of what needs to be completed. Being consistent with homework time and modeling ways to be organized using folders, binders, etc. can help reduce unnecessary stress.