4 Ways You Can Mentally Prepare Your Child For the School Year
July 23, 2020
With the way things have been changing this year, it is unclear what school will look like for children across the U.S. However, there are still ways you can prepare your child for school no matter what format it may take. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 7.1% of children aged 3-17 years (approximately 4.4 million) have diagnosed anxiety. It is something that is very common among children. That’s why it’s important to make sure that all children have the tools they need to feel mentally prepared for the start of a new school year. Here are some ways you can help prepare your child:
1. Establish open lines of communication
Communication is key when it comes to parenting. You always want to establish open lines of dialogue with your child. Create an open space where they can tell you their worries and fears about starting a new school year. It’s important for children to express how they are feeling. Carve out time in the day to ask them about their worries. Tell them it is normal to be anxious about the start of something new.
2. Start practicing the school routine early
Getting in a routine can help curve your child’s anxieties. According to a 2019 article by the Washington Post, kids’ anxiety can spike during the summer due to a lack of routine, too much screen time, and other varying factors. The best way to help them get ready for school is to start practicing their school schedule at least 2-3 weeks before the start of school. This will prepare them for what is to come. Make sure you are giving them a consistent bedtime as well.
3. Meet the teacher
Setting up some sort of communication between your child and their new teacher will help alleviate a lot of pre-school jitters. This is a great way to give your child some peace of mind before the actual school year starts. You don’t even have to set up an in-person meeting with them. It can be something as simple as a welcome email or a phone call. Talk with your child’s new teacher and see what best fits their schedule.
4. Create clear expectations
Talk to your child about what your expectations are once the school year starts. This includes limited screen time, established times for schoolwork, etc. They should know what is expected of them once they start getting back in the swing of things. Leave room for outside activities and things that will get them moving outdoors.
If your child is still struggling with anxiety or mental health issues, you can always make an appointment for your child or you to talk with your primary care provider (PCP).
For more information about helping children manage their emotions, please review this resource that discusses parenting during stressful times.