3 Strategies for Beating the Back-to-School Blues
Back to school can be a challenging time for kids at the best of times. After the excitement of school shopping and new classes dies down, children can be left mourning the freedom and excitement of summer.
Now, coming back after one of the most tumultuous school years in living memory, these blues are going to hit especially hard.
Many students were overwhelmed this past year adjusting to online classes, dealing with loved ones falling sick, and the confusing half in and half out of class schedule. This summer was a welcome relief and a time to relax and feel a little more normal.
Julie Frumin, Life Balance expert at CHLI, explains “This fall, your child may have any number of feelings about going back to school. It’s important to stay present if they share feelings of discomfort or worry with you. Even though it can be tempting, it is best not to attempt to distract a child from their negative emotion or tell them not to feel what they feel. We want to make sure that they are heard, feel understood by us and know that we have their back.”
Here are some strategies to try as your kids get ready for the dreaded first day of school.
1. Talk to Your Children
- It’s easy to want to shield your child from what’s happening out in the world. But your child is already exposed to what’s happening. Taking the time to sit down with your children and answering their questions can do wonders for your child’s sense of stability. In addition, keep them updated about their school’s decisions, so significant changes don’t take them by surprise.
Use your best judgment about how much to share about what’s happening globally. A kindergartner needs to know less than a fifth grader. But opening that conversation with your child will let them share their thoughts and feelings in a safe and comforting environment.
2. Help Them with Schoolwork
The switch to online classes was jarring for most students. Even those who had never struggled in school before found adjusting to online courses and studying entirely at home difficult. So, while it’s good to let your child be autonomous, this year, try to be extra available for schoolwork help.
With some schools still online, brainstorm with your child to help them come up with studying tricks that work for them. For example, maybe move where they sit during the day, so it’s easier to focus. Help them come up with note-taking strategies. For younger children, get them moving to get excess energy out.
Most of all, let your child know that you’re there for them and understand how difficult this is and see their hard work.
3. Add some Structure
Children thrive on stability (even if they don’t like routine). Summer is a great break and a time to let loose, stay up late and eat whenever.
Especially for students who are still at home, it can feel like it’s still summer, so make sure to implement structure to get them back in the school mindset.
Sleep is essential for mental health, and it’s no different for your child. Strict bedtimes and wake-up times can do wonders for your children’s mood.
Some children respond very well to charts that track if they’ve done their homework and studied. Make one together as a craft and have a reward at the end of the week if they keep up!
Help your child adjust to the new normal by making it feel as normal as possible.
It’s a challenging time for everyone, and kids have had a tough time. We want to make things easier for you and your family. If your child is struggling, you can talk to one of our life balance experts today to make a plan that we tailor for you and your child’s needs.