After the topsy-turvy nature of Term 1, the beginning of Term 2 feels a lot like a new school year even though we are well and truly into it. Students can often struggle with back to school blues at the start of each year and term. The transition from fun in the sun, late nights and sleep-ins to donning a school uniform and rushing to be ready in time, can leave students feeling unsettled and a bit down for the first week or so.
An article by Mindshift was credited in a recent Principal’s Digest for tackling this problem. After reading the article, here are what I think are the best nine tips to beat the back to school blues.
Listen to your child or teen
Make the time to listen and tune into what your children are talking about. Parents should be the safe place for children to help them develop the language around expressing emotions. Don’t dismiss their fears or hear only what you want to hear. You can just be their sounding board.
Beyond listening in general, if there is ongoing anxiety find out what, exactly, is the problem – friends, classes, a new teacher and then help them problem-solve.
Let them be the experts
Ask them what might make them feel better. Let them generate solutions. Help them come up with strategies they can use in situations that make them worried.
Create a positive expectation. Talk about things your children can look forward to in school and past experiences they’ve enjoyed.
Talk through previous triumphs
Remind them of their own successes with similar situations. Reassuring them that they have the tools to get through the challenge ahead, because they’ve overcome their fears in the past, can go a long way.
Reach out to the teacher
Teachers appreciate hearing from parents. They spend a lot of time trying to figure each student out so share what you know. Telling your children that you have talked to the teacher can lower anxiety and send the message that the adults are on their side.
Give them strategies for joining other kids at lunch and making new friends.
Chill out after school
Give them a break after school to have a snack and relax. A few minutes of quiet or light conversation can be good for the whole family.
Signs that it’s not normal
Be patient and allow time for adjustment but if you see your child struggling, seek help at the school, starting with the classroom teacher.
Mike Curtis, Principal