Tips for Starting the (School) Year Off on the Right Foot

   

Mother and her daughter walking to school

It’s that time of year again, the house is empty, and you no longer have to come up with numerous activities to entertain your little one every day because they’re back at school. At the end of August and beginning of September, children return to their classrooms and their new little lives at school. Some parents are excited to get back to a routine and know that their kids are safe, occupied, and away for a few hours every day, but many others are left in a fit of nerves as they wave their child goodbye and relinquish the ability to protect and look after them first-hand. Going from unlimited outdoor playtime in the summer with longer days, later nights, and no homework to a structured school day can be a big adjustment!

Here are 5 ideas to start the year off right!

1. First Day of School Traditions

For many children, the first day of school may have already passed, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t begin thinking of the first day of school traditions for years to come! Many families have their own traditions to commemorate the big first day such as taking pictures in new outfits on the front porch, holding a sign with what grade they’ll be beginning or making a special breakfast. The year can go by fast and it’s fun to look back at how much your little one has changed year-to-year so it’s a great idea to capture the first day of school magic!

2. Make New “School” Year Resolutions

January is a hard time to “start over”. The weather is cold, it’s right in the middle of a season and the days end at 4 pm. So why not try starting “School Year” resolutions for both you AND your little ones? The school year is a wonderful time to shift and begin new schedules/activities and although transitions can be tough, it’s a great time to use those transitions to incorporate other changes. Make a list of all the things you want to do this next year. Help your child set goals for themselves. Using a creative way to illustrate goals allows your child to watch as they reach their achievements. Goals can be related to individual development or personal achievements – like reading a few pages before bed every night, controlling behaviors, or even going to the potty.

3. Savor the Last Days of Summer

Even though starting a new routine can be difficult and coordinating schedules might be a bit hectic, don’t forget to savor the last few days of summer. While the weather is still nice, encourage your children to get outside. Maybe try to find a drive-in movie theater or have an outdoor picnic as a family.

4. Combatting Transition Stress and Anxiety

For many kids, going to school for the first time, leaving their parents, or entering a classroom where they don’t know anyone can be difficult. For the first few days there will be a mixture of excitement, fear, anxiety, and many other emotions your child may be feeling. Let them know you understand, it’s ok to feel that way and that they’re not alone in their emotions. Talk to them openly about feelings. Ask questions and listen. Talk them through making friends, dealing with other children, and most importantly to be kind. Try reading a book about worrying or going through this list of 8 one-minute anxiety relief tools for kids big and small.

5. Start a Journal

Finding time for yourself can be hard, finding time to jot down your own thoughts, may be impossible when you’re raising a child or more than one. But even if you write down a few thoughts on the first/last days of school, every year about your little one, it’s not only a wonderful way to see how they’re changing and progressing each year but makes an amazing chronicle of memories to look back on once they’ve grown older. Time moves fast, each passing year moves even faster.

Comfees wishes you and your little ones a very happy return to school!

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