August signals a month of major transition for families across the Chicagoland area. Back to school season is officially upon us, with supplies on display at local stores and class lists mailed out to waiting kiddos. While heading back to school can welcome some much-needed routine after a carefree summer, it can also be the source of anxiety and big emotions for everyone in the family.
No matter how old your kids are, it is wise to find strategies that help your entire family ease back into the school routine. Here are just a few of our favorites that have worked for families with first-time kindergarteners to families sending a senior to high school.
Don’t Plan Too Much
The first month back to school is a busy time. By the time your kiddo walks in the door after class, they may be extra tired or moody. Try to honor this transition time by making a conscious effort to not overschedule during the first month. Skip extra extracurricular practices when possible and politely decline when your weekend schedule is already busy with birthday parties and soccer games.
Rest is Best
Downtime is essential for your family during the back to school transition. As you remember what it is like to help with homework after school, and as your child remembers how to burn their extra energy after the school bell rings, plan time to rest together. Family movie night to celebrate the first week of school is the perfect example of purposeful rest. Order pizza and watch a favorite movie from the couch to decompress from a stressful week.
Talk About It
Keep open communication with your kids during the back to school transition. You can learn a lot about how they are feeling, what challenges they are facing, and more by asking open-ended questions. Try to stay away from asking questions that can be answered by a simple “yes” or “no”. Instead, ask questions that will prompt conversations and listen attentively while they are speaking.
Time away from home after a summer spent there can cause feelings of homesickness for kids of all ages. Tell your child you are thinking of them by sending fun surprises for them to find at school. Stick a note with a silly face in their history book or write a note to tuck in their lunchbox. These small actions can go a long way in building your relationship.
Ask for Help
If you and your family are struggling with the transition back to school, you are not alone. These next few months can be emotionally trying for even the most experienced parents. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family members or from school staff. A few extra helping hands can give your family just what it needs to get back to a solid routine.
Here’s to a wonderful school year ahead, full of accomplishments and challenges, learning opportunities and new friends!