As summer vacation comes to an end, children, teenagers, and college students are gearing up to go back to school. Every academic year brings new routines, classrooms, teachers, friends, and challenges that can be overwhelming for many young people.
As a parent, you play an important role in helping your child have a positive transition back to school. This blog will provide you with tips on how to best support your child throughout the school year.
Back-to-School Support Tips for Parents
1. Create a Routine Together
Before school starts, talk with your child about the daily and weekly routine that will work best for your family. Discuss what time they need to wake up, eat breakfast, and start studying. Establish set times for homework, extracurricular activities, and family time. Creating a routine that works for everyone can help your child feel more organized and prepared for the school year.
2. Encourage Your Child’s Independence
Going back to school can be overwhelming, especially for younger children who are entering pre-school or kindergarten. Encourage your child’s independence by allowing them to pack their own backpack, choose their outfits, and make their own lunch. This can help your child develop their decision-making skills and self-confidence.
3. Practice Communication
Good communication is key when it comes to supporting your child in school. Make a habit of asking your child about their day and listening to their answers. Validate your child’s emotions as you talk with them to show your support for their well-being. Some children may prefer to process the school day by drawing or writing instead of talking, and that’s okay. If your child is struggling with a particular subject or issue at school, encourage them to speak with their teacher and assure them that you are there to help them succeed.
4. Set Up a Positive Study Environment
Make sure your child has a dedicated space in your home where they can study and complete homework. This space is ideally free of distractions and equipped with all the necessary tools, like pens, pencils, and a calculator. Consider investing in a comfortable chair and good lighting to help create a positive study environment where your child can focus on their work.
5. Make Time for Play and Relaxation
Acclimating to a new school routine and the responsibilities that come with it can bring out a lot of big feelings for kids. Plan fun activities together, such as going on a bike ride or having a family game night, so your children can unwind and have fun.
Although it can feel hectic to juggle this along with preparing dinner, helping with homework, and getting ready for bed, dedicating some quality time – even if only for 15 minutes – will strengthen your relationship and support your child’s well-being. Take time to listen to each other and let your child know that you are there for them, no matter what.
Prioritizing Mental Health During the School Year
Most children adapt to the new school year without any issues. However, this environment requires kids to sit still, pay attention, follow rules, and socialize with their peers while learning new things. It’s also a time when their brains and bodies undergo massive development. If they have a mental health condition like anxiety, ADHD, or depression, school is typically where symptoms begin to emerge.
If you’ve noticed your child has unusual difficulties in school or is behaving differently, discuss your concerns with their teacher and a mental health professional. These experts can offer insight into whether your child’s struggles are normal for their age or it’s time to schedule a mental health evaluation.
At Rural Psychiatry Associates, we provide a specialized approach for every child to ensure they receive the mental health care they need to succeed, both at home and at school. Contact us to learn more or book an appointment.