Starting a new school year can be both exciting and nerve-wracking for both parents and students.
It’s normal for kids to feel anxious about returning to school, and here are a few common challenges:
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 .
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 .
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 . Here are some tips from Plano eye health experts:
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.
 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). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-022-00879-5
 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. https://doi.org/10.2147/NSS.S163071
 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. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072346
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