The start of a new school year can bring mixed feelings for students and parents alike that typically range from happiness and excitement to nervousness and stress. While families mark the start of a new year by picking up a fresh set of school supplies and back-to-school clothes, it is equally important for families to prepare for school mentally.
EBONY has rounded up these eight tips to help your family emotionally prepare for the upcoming school year.
“Get to know your school counselor and develop a good relationship with them,” Jessica Fevrin, B.S.I.E., M.A., and National Board-Certified School Counselor shares.
Also, be sure to stay in touch with your children's teachers, introduce yourself, and learn about their educational philosophy and goals for the school year. Creating a positive relationship with teachers and school counselors can help foster communication and support your children's academic and social journey.
Establish Open Communication
Start an open dialogue with your children and let them share their thoughts and feelings about returning to school. Listen attentively, be empathetic, and acknowledge their feelings. This will help them feel heard and valued. You may also share your own back-to-school experiences and offer guidance as appropriate.
It is important to acknowledge that anxiety is a normal part of any change or transition. Let your children know that it is okay to feel nervous or worried, and that it is perfectly understandable and normal to feel that way. Normalize the feelings by sharing stories of how you have coped with similar emotions or similar situations.
Create a Sense of Community
Children thrive in environments where they feel supported, accepted and connected. Encourage them to join clubs, sports teams or other extracurricular activities that help build a sense of community. Supporting their interests and passions will help them feel empowered for the school year.
Practice and Model Self-Care
Parents, be mindful of your own self-care, as it is essential to your overall emotional health. Model the behavior of taking care of your total well-being and encourage your children to do the same. Engage in activities that bring you fulfillment, joy and peace as a way to reduce stress and anxiety. Things such as exercising, reading, or spending quality time with loved ones.
Build a Routine
Prepare your children for the new school year by establishing a set schedule for sleeping, eating and studying. Create a routine that works for both you and your children to help them feel more in control and prepared. Involve them in the process and let them help create the schedule to increase buy-in and greater adherence.
It is important to celebrate your children's achievements, both big and small. Celebrating their successes will create a positive atmosphere at home and boost their self-esteem. From completing their homework to getting good grades to being kind and accepting others—no achievement is too small.
Embrace Challenges as Opportunities
Encourage your children to adopt a growth mindset. Assure them that it is okay to make mistakes and experience setbacks, and that these are opportunities for growth and learning. Teach them to embrace their challenges and view them as opportunities for improvement.