03 Sep Battling the Back-to-School Blues
Heading back to school can be stressful for kids and parents, especially if it is to a new school or in a different country. Back-to-school blues can be caused by anxiety about new beginnings or the return to structured schedules and the loss of summertime freedoms. Here are some suggestions for how you can help your family get off to a great start for a new school year.
Make friends with their teacher.
I love this Washington Post’s connection tool suggestion: Email your child’s teacher at the start of the school year. Ask about their favorite food, animal, color, what they are most afraid of, etc. and talk about what your child and their teacher may or may not have in common. This can help make new teachers seem more familiar rather than unknown or scary.
Get organized to reduce stress.
Make a list of the morning routine and everything that needs to get done before leaving the house. Make a list of everything your child needs to take with them to school so that they can check every morning on their own to make sure they aren’t forgetting anything. Many families keep big weekly calendars on chalkboards or whiteboards with everyone’s activities for the week to help keep everyone in the loop.
Stock the cupboards and fridges with favorite foods for snacks and lunch.
Take your child shopping with you and involve them in picking out and even making their own lunch or snacks. Reduce morning stress by trying to pack as much of the lunch the night before.
Don’t over-commit (at least at first) to too many extracurricular activities.
Schedule downtime on weekends and in the afternoons in the first month of school. Children will be overstimulated by new environments, challenged by busier schedules, and more tired than you might expect.
Keep earlier (or at least regular) bedtimes at night.
Experts suggest gradually start shifting your child’s bedtime earlier by 10 minutes a night so that the earlier “school-year” bedtime is not such a shock at the start of the school year.
Validate your children’s feelings while staying positive.
You don’t have to be a cheerleader, just a good listener. Allow children complain about a bad day, without trying to put a positive spin on every negative. For younger children, the book “School’s First Day of School” (read aloud here on YouTube) is a touching story about a first-day jitters told from the perspective of a new school building.
Don’t freak out if your child tells you they hate school.
It may just be one or two bad days, adjusting to big changes, or maybe your child just doesn’t like school. That is ok and normal. Their unhappiness doesn’t mean that you need to immediately try to solve all of the reasons why they had a bad day, email their teacher or principal, or start looking for a new school to transfer to immediately.
Instead, try to listen to their concerns and try to find parts of their day that they do like. This parenting article has some helpful tips to try to figure out the source of your child’s back-to-school blues. Sometimes planning fun adventures on weekends (like these hands-on kids’ activities in Barcelona) can give children something to look forward and make the week go by faster.
It can be exhausting to try to battle the back-to-school blues as a parent. If you need some help, don’t forget that the Nanny Line has pre-screened, English-speaking nannies ready to give you a break! You can even book them online.