14 Oct Back to School Tips, Tricks and Strategies
Maha Souman, LSW
The beginning of the school year typically brings on a mix of emotions, expectations, lots of preparation and lots of adjusting for both kids and parents. And we all know that a healthy and happy home will pave the way for a successful school year.
So what can you do at home to ease that adjustment and ensure a smooth transition for the whole family?
Begin by creating and sticking to a daily family routine that allows for a healthy mix of work, fun, and rest time. Establishing habits at the beginning of the school year helps children become more disciplined and balanced and encourages realistic expectations. Here’s a quick example of what that routine might look like for your family:
The after school catch-up
Allow for some time immediately after school for the children to take a little refresh time by taking a quick shower, perhaps a quick nap, or grabbing a snack to rebuild energy.
The homework journey
After that mini break, it becomes the perfect time to start on homework. Establish the routine by beginning to discuss their school day and encouraging them to ask questions about their homework for the night.
The reward after the task
In order for children to view homework in a positive manner, rewarding them after completing their assignments will begin to establish that tone. Allow the children to have a choice at this point as to how they would like to spend their free time, whether it be watching tv, playing outside, or playing a family board game. In order to maintain structure for the remainder of the night, ensure that you are giving children a warning before the end of this time in order for them to begin preparing for the next part of the night.
The dinner gathering
If possible, eat dinner as a family in order to strengthen relationships within the family and establish a parent-child relationship. Engage in conversation that allows time for each family member to share their day and what they are looking forward to tomorrow.
The bedtime, time
Ensure that you are establishing and sticking to a set bedtime for young children and a more flexible bedtime for teens and parents in order for everyone to receive the rest needed to have the most productive and wonderful day tomorrow!
Let’s keep going! What else can you do at home to ease that adjustment and ensure a smooth transition.
Managing the stress and anxiety of the family within the home is crucial during the beginning of a school year for both the children and the parents. Here’s two quick tips to you help do just that:
The acceptance and validation
- Ensure that you are consistently recognizing each other’s emotions as a family unit regarding transitions, school, activities, and any events or gatherings that are planned. Establish a habit of validating and normalizing each other’s feelings and emotions afterward.
- Find ways as a family to ease stress and anxiety within the home by possibly creating a toolbox of coping strategies that members of the family find useful such as playing calming tunes in the home, mediating together, or taking a family stroll outdoors.
There are many tips, tricks, and all around helpful strategies to ease the transition from the summer fun to the school year. Ensure you are choosing to implement what is useful to you and your family during this time. And remember that seeking professional help can sometimes be the answer you are looking for during this time. A professional family therapist can help build parent-child relationships, establish helpful and healthy communication skills within the family, and ensure that everyone feels heard and validated as you navigate the school year!
Verne Psychotherapy and Wellness LLC is a private therapy practice in Upper Montclair, New Jersey. Verne has multiple therapists with a wide range of expertise treating anxiety, depression, trauma, and beyond. Verne accepts people of all cultural, racial, and sexual backgrounds. We serve clients ages 12 to 65. We have an in-person office in Montclair, New Jersey and also can see patients virtually. To get matched with one of our therapists, please call our office at 862-330-1727 ext 1 or visit our website: vernewellness.com.
Our in-person office is easily accessible from Essex County, Bergen County, and Passaic County. We are located in an area with public transportation (trains, buses, rideshare). We are in a handicap accessible location with elevators located on the first floor by the parking lot (in the back). Parking is pay-to-park on the streets and in the lots surrounding the office.