By Jeanene Dunn, OHM Staff
Another summer break is in the books, and school is back in session. The routine, schedule and structure are back in place, along with homework and after-school activities. Whether your child is just starting their academic career or moving on to the next grade level, a new school year can be exciting and stressful for them and for you.
Tim DeWeese, director of Johnson County Mental Health, offers advice and tips to help you and your child get back into the school year groove.
As children are adjusting to new routines at school, families are often adjusting to new routines at home, too. Meal times are different, fall sports and activities are starting and parents are still trying to figure out childcare and transportation schedules. In the midst of this, it’s important for families to prioritize some quality time together where they can talk about the new routines. Meals together when possible is a good place to start. These times give parents the opportunity to check in on their kids and hear from them about what is going well and what is still challenging for their children in the new routine, then repeat the pattern of affirming feelings and offering words of encouragement.
Tips for parents and adults as children transition back to school:
- Listening involves our ears AND eyes.
- Positive mindset and positive statements go a long way.
- Routine and schedules throughout the entire day provide structure for the whole family.
- Identify other safe adults your child can talk to. It really does take a village.
- Make informed and intentional decisions about the use of emerging technologies and develop norms, values, and training for responsible tech use.
- The single most important and effective thing to do:
- Give words of encouragement, let kids know that they can do new and challenging things. Listen to what they are expressing as their fears or concerns, affirm those emotions, and then help them feel prepared to face those fears in positive ways.
The single most important and effective thing to do:
“Give words of encouragement, let kids know that they can do new and challenging things. Listen to what they are expressing as their fears or concerns, affirm those emotions, and then help them feel prepared to face those fears in positive ways.”