For a lot of families (including ours!) the transition from summer to the school year can be stressful. But, it doesn’t have to be.
Local Orange County clinical psychologist, Dr. Jerry Weichman wrote a great article on summer to school transition tips for kids.
If you have anything that has worked in the past for your family, please share in the comments below. After all, we are all in this together.
Lead Your Family Through A Painless Transition To A New School Year
By Jerry Weichman, PhD
It’s that time again…summer is coming to a close and the school year is upon us. While many parents report a sense of relief that they first day of school has finally arrived, the first few weeks of transition can be challenging for the entire family.
Some kids experience anxiety over being responsible for homework and projects, not to mention revisiting school social situations that are often suspended during the summer. Parents may feel overwhelmed by the rush to buy school supplies and dread the pressure their children exert for expensive designer clothing and electronics.
Here are some tips to help your family make a smoother, less stressful shift from the freedom of summer to the schedule of the school year.
1. Work Before Play. Period.
Now—before the first homework is assigned—is the right time to sit down with students of all ages and roll this one out.
It’s a simple rule: You have to finish your homework/chores before you can enjoy the fun, relaxing stuff. Expect some major pushback from your kids and teens, especially if this is a new concept. But stay firm. Procrastination is a key factor in poor academic performance and high parental stress.
2. Rise & Shine
Get into a rhythm where mornings run smoothly by preparing as much as you can the night before. Teens (and even preteens) should have their own alarm clock and get into the practice of getting themselves up each morning.
Make sure your child’s morning routine includes a nourishing breakfast. Even a protein bar or a breakfast shake is better than nothing.
And eliminate the mad scramble for backpacks by having each child place his or her bag by the front door before bedtime.
3. Enact a Nightly Unplugging
As a general rule, your kids should unplug from their various devices at night.
All electronics should be charged in a parent’s room, including cell phones, iPods, tablets, and portable gaming devices.
This simple step will eliminate the temptation for your child to stay up late, chatting online or surfing the Internet when they should be getting valuable and restorative rest.
4. Convey Encouraging Messages
Start to discuss the upcoming year with your kids.
Talking about how you see the year going for them (“I see you feeling comfortable, confident, making new friends, working before you play and doing really well this year”) can help alleviate back-to-school anxiety.
We often become what we hear from parents or caregivers, so make sure your message is positive and encouraging.
Jerry Weichman, Ph.D. is an expert on teen and preteen issues and is the founder of The Weichman Clinic in Newport Beach, where his team of therapists work with kids, teens, and young adults. He is also the author of the teen self-help book “How To Deal: Real World Tools For Surviving Your Teenage Years.” Dr. Weichman is a popular speaker about parenting, bullying, and adolescent coping skills. Having overcome a lower leg amputation as a child and becoming a Division I college football player, he has a unique perspective on coping with—and surmounting—the challenges of adolescence. Follow him on Twitter @drjerryweichman or visit his websites www.drjerryweichman.com or www.theweichmanclinic.com.