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6 Ways to Prepare Your Kids for the Back-to-School Season

Maybe it’s your child’s first day of school. Maybe it’s their last year, and they’ll be graduating from high school this spring. To be honest, it doesn’t matter a whole lot. Those back-to-school jitters can hit any kid. It can be anxiety or pure excitement — their nerves may just feel a little jumpy.

Don’t worry. It’s normal for kids to be filled with good and bad anticipation at the start of every school year. As a parent, there’s plenty you can do to keep them calm and get them prepared for the year ahead. If you want to set your kid up for success, read these tips below. They’ll make the first day go smoothly. Plus, they’ll lay a foundation for a much easier year.

1. Hand Over a Cell Phone

Even if your child is young, you may want to consider fulfilling their request for a cell phone. They’ll be spending several hours outside the house, and sometimes they’ll need you. Maybe they forgot their lunch or homework. They could feel sick. Or perhaps they want to schedule a playdate after school and go home with a friend.

Whatever the case, having a quick way to communicate with you is valuable. Giving them a phone for kids makes touching base with you easier. It’s faster to simply text or call you than to ask permission to use the phone in the school office. Plus, you can reach out to your child in an instant if you need to.

2. Talk About Their Feelings

Take a minute to think about it. If back-to-school made your stomach churn a bit, your child probably feels the same way. So set aside some time to talk about what’s on their mind. Let your kid know it’s totally normal to feel a bit nervous about heading back to the classroom.

Ask what’s making them uncomfortable. Are they worried about finding their classroom or concerned about having the same lunch period as their friends? Talk with them about some methods to stay calm and what to do if things don’t go perfectly. Even walking them through some breathing exercises can help them when anxiety kicks up.

3. Get Supplies Ready

As stressful as back-to-school can be, getting the supply list and going school shopping can be fun. There’s something cool and exciting about new notebooks, a new lunchbox, and getting that super-awesome backpack. Set aside a special day for school shopping and make it a big event to launch the new school year.

That backpack is probably the most important item you’ll buy. There are a few elements to focus on when selecting one. Look for ones with wide, padded shoulder straps. Encourage your child to use both straps — wearing a backpack over one shoulder increases back pain. Teach them how to organize the pack, as well. Keep heavier items closer to their back, and clean out the stuff they don’t need each week.

4. Drop By the School Early

Perhaps you’ve moved to a new city. Maybe your child has advanced to middle school. Whatever the reason, if they’re in a new building this year, consider dropping by for a tour before school starts. Knowing where rooms are can help lower anxiety for some kids.

Safety and pandemic protocols are different for every school. Give the front office a call before you head over. You’ll likely need special permission or a chaperone to walk around inside. Don’t be surprised if a tour isn’t possible, though. School administrators and teachers are busy getting ready for the first day.

You can still drive over, see the building, and get a feel for what it’s like, however. Even that quick trip can make your child feel more relaxed. If their school is hosting an open house, make sure to attend. You can meet new teachers and maybe even walk through your child’s schedule.

5. Set Up a Family Calendar

It’s no secret that life is super busy between August and May or even June. Your child will have plenty of homework and projects. If they’re in middle or high school, there’s a good chance they’ll have more to do. They might play a sport or be part of an after-school club. It’s a lot to keep organized — especially if you have more than one kid.

Do everyone a favor and set up a dry erase or magnetic calendar in a visible location. You can write in and easily switch around any lessons, appointments, or major school deadlines. Having one spot to check for all your family’s to-dos makes it easier for your child to stay on track. Plus, they can add new things that pop up.

6. Design a Homework Spot

When it’s time to buckle down and focus, you probably have a spot where you work best. Your child is no different. Just like you, they need a dedicated space for homework and studying. It builds consistency and helps their brain shift into focus mode. Choose a spot that’s well-lit and away from distractions but close enough to you if help is needed.

Go a step further and set a homework schedule. Be sure you consider any after-school activities and leave enough time to complete homework properly. Make a rule that TVs or other electronics are off during study time. If your child uses the computer for schoolwork, keep the screen visible to be sure they’re on task.

The beginning of the school year can be a hectic time. With so many items on your to-do list, it can feel overwhelming for you and your child. Step back for a bit and focus on these six tips. They can ease your kid’s anxiety over heading back to class and prepare them for a happier, more productive year