It’s that time of the year again. Backpacks that have spent the summer filled with overnight clothes, sunscreen, and swimsuits will again be filled with school books and supplies. Summer is coming to an end and, ready or not, school is about to begin.
While this can be an exciting time, it can also cause anxiety and frustration. Many of us - kids and grown-ups alike - get butterflies as summer fades. However, preparation leads to confidence, which in turn leads to a positive back-to-school experience.
Here are several ways to help reduce some of the back-to-school stress for yourself and your kids.
- If your child will be attending a new school, take a tour to familiarize him or her with the new environment.
- Attend open house events and meet the teacher(s). Find out what is the best way to communicate with them (i.e. phone, email, etc.)
- Take your child shopping for school supplies. Most schools send out a school supply list prior to the beginning of school. Your students will feel more invested if they get to weigh in on some of the choices.
- Learn what safety precautions schools have in place for the welfare of your child. Talk to your student(s) about safety at and while traveling to and from school.
- Make sure the school(s) have a medical file on your child, especially if he or she has any medical conditions. Discuss with your student(s) and the school nurse what to do if a health condition is triggered.
- If your child has a severe allergy and uses an injectable epinephrine (Epi-Pen) unit occasionally, make sure it is not expired.
- If your child takes medication throughout the school day, make sure it is in the correct medication bottle. School nurses will not administer medication unless it is in the correct bottle. The school will also need a letter from the child’s physician stating that he or she needs to take the medication while at school.
- Make sure your child starts the day with a healthy breakfast. Before school starts, plan options ahead of time. Let your student(s) come up with ideas and even help with food prep for breakfast and lunch.
- If your child requires a special diet, inform the school ahead of time so they have time to order those special items. Note: you will probably need a letter from your physician stating your child requires a special diet, so make that request now.
- Always take the time to ask your child about their day. You'll get more of a response to specific questions like "What book are you reading?" or "Who did you play with during recess?" than open-ended questions like "How was your day?".
- Talk openly with your child about any concerns or anxiety that they may have about returning to school. Make it easier by saying "When I was your age, going back to school felt..."
- Involve your children in programs after school to keep them active. Create a family calendar to keep track of activities.
- Focus on time management. Start getting everyone up on "school year time" a week ahead of the start of school. Once school starts, set an alarm clock each day that signals the start of homework time.
- Know your child’s bus schedule. Meet the bus driver and introduce yourself. Most schools will arrange this if asked.
Have a Safe and Happy School Year!
Health & Wellness Director