*I ran this post at the beginning of school last year, and decided to run it again this year!*
The end of August practically screams back to school. For some of you, your kids have already started back and you may or may not have done the happy dance in the parking lot. For some of you, you still have a few days or weeks left before classes start back up. Either way, we are all in need of some tips to make the back to school transition a little easier.
Did you know a nationwide survey by the Epsom Salt Council revealed that 32 percent of moms think the start of school causes the most stress annually. The next highest: the holidays, which 30 percent find to be the most stressful time, making the two seasons about equally stressful, given the survey’s margin of error.
Why are moms so stressed? More than half blame the cost of clothes, supplies, fees, tuition and other back-to-school essentials. That number was even higher – almost 70 percent – for moms whose oldest children are in high school. Moms also say their kids feel tense about going back to school. That’s true for 59 percent of moms nationwide, including 71 percent of the moms with high schoolers and 60 percent of the moms whose oldest child is in middle school. So how do we de-stress ourselves and our kids? Hopefully these tips will help.
20 tips that help start your year off on the right foot
These tips can help minimize student’s stress levels throughout the year:
- Pay closer attention in class. Listen carefully.
- Set up and maintain homework and study routines.
- Stay on schedule for assignments, especially the long-range ones like book reports, term papers, and science projects. Start early, finish early.
- Challenge the mind with at least one challenging book per semester.
- Take a challenging course – upper level math, poetry, history, science, technology.
- Participate in class regularly. Take responsibility for learning.
- Cut down on “screen time” and increase learning time.
- Stop trying to “multi-task” when studying.
- Improve social skills.
- Exercise more and eat healthy.
- Walk away from bullies. Don’t be a bully.
- Select friends carefully. They should support, encourage, motivate, challenge, and inspire you.
- Set aside some time each day to reflect about what you’ve accomplished, whom you’ve helped, what you want to improve.
- See how many ways you can apply what you’re learning in school to “real life.”
- Improve technology skills.
- Make sure homework and all assignments are neat and organized.
- Be punctual for classes and other important appointments.
- Disagree without being disagreeable.
- Start thinking about the “next stage” – high school, college, career, or beyond.
- Enjoy the academic journey!
Give your kids a strong start in the coming school year and keep them on track all year long with these simple tips. For more information on the Sylvan back-to-school resources visit – www.sylvanlearning.com
9 tips that helps the transition from summer back to school schedule
- Gradually transition your kids back into their school-year wake and sleep cycles. A few weeks before school starts, set your kids’ bedtime at an hour that is earlier than they go to bed during the summer but later than they go to bed during the school year. In subsequent weeks, shift their bedtime earlier and earlier until you’ve reached their traditional school-year bedtime.
- Limit access to refined sugar and processed foods before bedtime. Instead, have lots of fresh fruits and veggies in your home as strawberries, watermelon, baby carrots, etc. are excellent substitutes for candy.
- If you increased your kids’ household responsibilities when school was not in session, then reduce their chore load when they return to school. If you increased their weekly allowance for their increased summertime household responsibility, then their allowance will need to be proportionately reduced when they no longer carry those responsibilities. Your kids should have chores year-round, but the amount of time that they can dedicate to chores should be restricted during the school year as your kids already have a full-time job during the school year: they are full-time learners.
- Don’t go cold-turkey on all the fun, active, creative, or educational activities that you planned for your kids during the summer. The frequency of these activities can change due to your kids having less free time, but there should still be periodic trips to your local art museum, days painting pottery at a greenware pottery retailer, hiking a nearby nature trail, learning about local vegetation and wildlife, or attending events at your local public library.
- Host a back-to-school party to reacquaint your kids with the classmates that they may not have seen since the spring semester ended.
- Dedicate a day to fun back-to-school shopping for your kids. New clothes, pencils, notebooks, and other school necessities can be fun to shop for: include your kids and make a fun day of it.
- If your kids are transitioning to a new school building, visit the school building with your kids. Take a tour of the building. Introduce your kids to the administration, teachers, and staff.
- Address any emotions your kids may be having about returning to school. For example, if you spend a little time tucking the kids into bed each night, visiting and bonding at that time, then, in those moments, ask your kids how they’re feeling about returning to school. If they are excited, tell them that you are excited too, and then ask them what specifically excites them about returning to school. If they are nervous, ask them what specifically makes them nervous about returning to school and then discuss their concerns and try to help them see that their anxiety is normal but likely constitutes worry over something that won’t happen.
- If your schedule permits, volunteer to help out in your kids’ classrooms. (Before you volunteer, ask your kids how they’d feel if you did this. Many kids find this to be reassuring, but some find it embarrassing or space-invading.)
Let’s face it, sometimes we as parents are just as nervous as our kids about going back to school. Diane Lang, a positive living expert, suggests that you take advantage of back to school night at your children’s school. Your kids can have a chance to meet their teacher(s), find their locker, locate bathrooms, etc. It also gives you as a parent a chance to become more comfortable with where you children will be. Diane also suggests that if your child has a disability (physical or cognitive) that you discuss it with the school before the school year starts. Be sure to tell them what your child needs to succeed throughout the year.
So are you ready for back to school yet? What additional tips do you have that have worked in your house? I’d love to hear them, so leave them in the comment section!
Also, be sure to check out our friends at SafetyTat to get your temporary safety tattoos for your kiddos when they go on field trips, or just if you want to give them a Tat Kiss to let you know you love them.