The summer is winding down so it’s time to get ready to go back to school. I’ve planned my lessons and organized my classroom. I’ve updated my wardrobe and bought a new school bag. I’ve stocked the pantry with healthy school snacks and the freezer with homemade soups and casseroles to ease hectic days.
Think the kids are the only ones who get nervous about back to school? Think again. No matter how well-prepared I am, I never feel fully ready for the first day of school. I still get stress dreams and I’m gnawed away by the feeling that I’m forgetting something. However, I’m not as anxious about it as I used to be. Now I feel more like I’m a performed about to go on stage. I get butterflies but they’re not debilitating.
If you have an anxious child, the return to school can be daunting. I wanted to share some of my best tips for the first day of school:
- Make sure your child has the school supplies they need. Contact your child’s teacher or school if you aren’t sure what to get. Get your child excited about picking out their new lunchbox or some pencil crayons just for them.
- Do not focus on worse case scenarios. These tend to start small, (what if no one sits with me at lunch?) and build to catastrophic, (what everyone hates me and I never make friends?) Instead, talk about the positive parts of school. Remind your child that it’s normal to feel nervous but that school can be a lot of fun if they’re open to the experience.
- Remind your child to say please and thank you and be kind to everyone in their class, even the teacher. Teachers are people too and we tend to smile more and speak more kindly when students are polite. You would expect no less of your children at home so make sure those good habit make it to the classroom.
- Start the day right with a healthy breakfast. Skip the sugar cereal and go for something with protein in it. Continue the day with a healthy lunch, high in protein and low in processed foods. Sugar and preservatives can heighten anxiety, (I speak from experience,) and can set your child up for a mid-afternoon sugar crash.
- Plan something fun for the end of the first day. A special meal, an after school snack or just some quality time together is something your child can look forward to all day. Plus then you know you’ll have a chance to discuss how your child’s day went.
- Don’t make the last part of summer all about school. Make sure you are balancing school prep time with fun summer time. That’s what I’ll be doing!
Happy end of summer!