Starting the new school year: What every parent should know
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Preparing for the New School Year: What Every Parent Should Know


Starting a new school year can be both exciting and nerve-wracking for both parents and students. 

new school year

Back-to-school challenges

It’s normal for kids to feel anxious about returning to school, and here are a few common challenges:

  1. Academic challenges – Kids may struggle to catch up if they have fallen behind during the break, or may face new academic challenges as they move up to a higher grade level. 
  2.  Social challenges – Going back to school can be intimidating for kids, especially if they are starting a new school or grade level. They may struggle to make new friends or may feel anxious about fitting in. 
  3. Time management -Adjusting to a new schedule and managing their time effectively can be a challenge for kids. 
  4.  Stress and anxiety -The pressure to succeed academically and fit in socially can be stressful for kids, especially if they have a heavy workload or feel overwhelmed.

5 strategies to prepare kids for back-to-school

As a parent, you have a crucial role to play in shaping your child’s mindset towards the return of school, and support them through these challenges. Here are 5 things to do in the week before to help prepare your kids for the new school term:

1. Set goals and targets 

Whether it is getting better grades, making new friends, or participating in a new extracurricular activity, you can help your child identify what they would like to achieve in the upcoming school year. Encourage them to work towards these goals and celebrate their progress along the way. Research has shown that having clear goals and focus can help young people feel more motivated and less anxious [1].

2. Establish a regular sleep routine 

Most parents know that children especially don’t do well with drastic changes to their sleep schedules. In the few days or weeks leading up to school, you can begin to change their wake-up and bedtimes by 15-minute increments. 

You will thank yourself when your kids slowly adjust back to their bedtime routines. After all, no one likes an early morning shock to the system, and getting grumpy kiddos ready for school is not an ideal situation. Studies have shown that a consistent sleep schedule (bedtime and wake-up time) can help your kids feel more alert and focused during the day [2].

3. Keep organized

Staying organized can help to lower cortisol levels – the body’s primary stress hormone, and thus help your kid feel more confident about tasks at school. Having systems in place for homework and schedules can keep the stress that comes along with the school year to a minimum. You may also encourage your child to plan ahead by creating a list of the supplies and materials they will need for the new term, such as pens, paper and textbooks.

4. Manage anxiety and keep calm

Before the start of the new school term, have a conversation with your child to understand how he or she is feeling, and discuss what they can expect in the school year. This can help alleviate any worries they may have about making friends or the increased workload.

If your child is feeling anxious, validate your child’s emotions and suggest ways to deal with the emotions such as taking deep breaths or talking to an adult. Importantly, encourage open communication and offer reassurance that it’s normal to feel a range of emotions about going back to school. 

5. Maintain good eye health

Maintaining good eye health is important for students, as good vision is essential for learning and performing well in school [3]. Here are some tips from Plano eye health experts:

  • Use the 20-20-20 rule: The 20-20-20 rule recommends taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away. This can help reduce eye strain and fatigue. 
  • Follow a healthy diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and other sources of essential nutrients can help support good eye health. 
  • Get regular eye exams: Encourage your child to have regular eye exams to ensure their eyes are healthy and that they have the appropriate prescription for any glasses or contacts they may need. This is especially important for students who have trouble seeing the board or have difficulty reading. 
  • Set a good example: Show your child the importance of eye health by taking care of your own eyes and following the same tips yourself.

It’s always a good idea to start preparing for the new school year well in advance. Incorporating these few strategies into your back-to-school planning will lay a strong foundation for your children’s academic well-being in the upcoming school term.


[1] Jacob, J., Stankovic, M., Spuerck, I. et al. Goal setting with young people for anxiety and depression: What works for whom in therapeutic relationships? A literature review and insight analysis. BMC Psychol 10, 171 (2022).

[2] Chaput, J. P., Dutil, C., & Sampasa-Kanyinga, H. (2018). Sleeping hours: what is the ideal number and how does age impact this?. Nature and science of sleep, 10, 421–430.

[3] Alvarez-Peregrina, C., Sánchez-Tena, M. Á., Andreu-Vázquez, C., & Villa-Collar, C. (2020). Visual Health and Academic Performance in School-Aged Children. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(7), 2346. 


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