A September Message to Parents and Guardians: Strategies to Help Prepare for a Successful Return to School

A September Message to Parents and Guardians: Strategies to Help Prepare for a Successful Return to School
Posted on 09/02/2022
A September Message to Parents and Guardians: Strategies to Help Prepare for a Successful Return to School

Heading back to school in September after a summer break is an adjustment for both students and their families. As parents and caregivers you may see your child(ren) express a wide variety of emotions about returning to school, including happiness, excitement, stress, fear, anger, and sadness - all of which are normal emotions to have. Here are some strategies to support your child(ren) in a successful return to school!

Check in & Talk about it

Setting aside some time to check in with your child(ren) about their feelings about the return to school is a great way to understand where they are at and to help them feel connected. It also reminds them that they are not alone to handle this transition.  Focusing on what is within their control will help limit the time spent worrying about things that they can’t control and can help things feel more manageable.

Acknowledge & Validate All Emotions

Listen, validate, and empathize with the feelings your child(ren) shares with you. When speaking about emotions, try not to jump to problem solving. Instead, give space to the emotion, responding with things like “tell me more…”, “what are you excited about?” “what makes you feel worried?”, or “sometimes I feel worried too”. Normalize that even as adults, we experience these emotions and that whatever they are feeling is okay.

Model Calm 

Your child(ren) will look to you to understand and make sense of their emotions. Modeling a calm, confident, and reassuring attitude will help your child(ren) feel more at ease and help them feel more capable to manage whatever comes their way. Acting with confidence and focusing on things within your control will teach your children to do the same.

Familiar Routines

Summer break and school year routines may be quite different. Gradually moving back to the school year routine can help ensure your child(ren) gets enough sleep and is prepared for their typical school week schedule - consider things like waking up and morning routines, bed time, meal times, and even screen time. Engage your child(ren) in the conversation around what this transition back can look like and how you can work together to prepare for the return.

Self Care 

Self care is equally important for parents and children. One of the most important things parents can do to support their child(ren) is to care for their own mental, emotional and physical needs. Taking some time to explore our own habits, routines, and emotions is important and allows us to model healthy coping strategies for our child(ren). 

  • Healthy habits: developing healthy eating and sleeping habits as well as regular exercise can contribute to both a healthy body and mind. 
  • Reduce stress: the return to school can be a source of stress for parents and students. Take time to consider the best ways for you to relieve stress and give yourself permission to make time for yourself. 
  • Reach out: staying connected with others (friends, family, community) helps us to feel less alone. Reaching out is the first step to feeling connected.

Planning Ahead

  • Visit your child(ren)’s school (walk around the outside of the building/yard, talk with your child(ren) about the fun things they may do at recess, visit the school website (remember special activities and events to look forward to), & encourage social connections with peers to ease the return.  If you continue to have significant concerns regarding your child(ren)’s mental health and the return to school, reach out to your child(ren)’s school for further assistance.

Resources

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