Back to school- it’s that time of year again. A time full of hustle and bustle, and schedules. And, let’s face it, it is the second most stressful time of the year. The time of year when we want to pull all our hair out and finish off the last remaining drops of wine from every bottle. But, it doesn’t have to be.
1- 14 Tips for a Successful School Year– In the article, 14 Tips for a Successful School Year, author Joanne Foster provides 14 tried and true tips for strengthening the resilience, creativity, and productivity of children to prepare for a more successful school year. The tips range from fostering creativity through challenges and opportunities to providing abundant resources to promote growth and reflection. The tips also include providing comfort zones that offer encouragement and reinforcement, as well as establishing consistency and routines. Being aware and expressing pride in the accomplishments of the child are also conducive to a successful school year. Joanne also expresses the need for nurturing the children’s need for autonomy and developing the habits of gratitude. I have rounded up four back-to-school blogs that will provide you with enough ammunition to tackle those early mornings and sleepy routines with pride and vigor!
2- The Success Myth– In her article on Psychology Today, The Success Myth, Heidi Grant Halvorson approaches the idea of success. As parents, we naturally want our children to excel in any endeavor they set out to achieve. However, as Heidi explains, not every endeavor will come naturally to every child. We want our children to have the best teachers and the best school curriculum, and we place them in various after-school activities or sports programs so that they can have the best opportunity to go far in life. They say practice makes perfect. And, to some degree is does. For instance, many high profile athletes were not originally very good in their field, but they kept practicing and pushing themselves to achieve their goals. Therefore, as parents, we should always encourage our children to keep practicing. You child may wish to play football or gymnastics, but may not be naturally very athletic. Encouraging them to continue practicing and not give up when things seem hard will not only instill in them the drive to keep going when things get tough in other areas of their lives as they age, but the payoff will be when they make the team that the so eagerly hoped for. The opposite side of this spectrum is when parents push their child to excel at something because it is the parent’s wish for them to be great at it, or the parent uses the loophole of, “I paid for this, now you are going to play.” As parents, we should be encouraging and supportive to help them foster the dreams and goals they envision for their future. Parent involvement is important to a child’s success, both in school academics as well as any after-school activities like sports or music lessons. However, realizing that not every child can catch a fly-ball, or steal home base, or win a championship spelling bee, let them know that is okay too. They will find their niche in the world. They are young. They still have time to try many things to find that niche.
3- How to Help Kids With Social Anxiety– In her article, How to Help Kids With Social Anxiety. While many back to school articles will provide you with a plethora tips on how to pick out the best back pack or what lunch box will get you the most bang for your buck, Kate Hurley, LCSW, tackles an under talked about, yet equally important topic- social anxiety. Back to school can be a trying a scary time for kids and teenagers, alike. The stress of back to school can be significantly increased if the child is attending a new school, advancing up from elementary school to middle school or middle school to high school, or even just the thought of getting adjusted to a new teacher or new classmates. Kate breaks down social anxiety to help parents gain a better understanding of why kids can experience it, as well as signs of social anxiety to look for in your child. Kate goes on to provide valuable coping skills and strategies to help your child better manage their social anxiety.
4- 15 Back-to-School Hacks to Get Your Year Off to a Running Start- Finally, in the Good Housekeeping article, 15 Back-to-School Hacks to Get Your Year Off to a Good Start, we find Marisa Lascala providing 15 do it yourself ideas to help back to school with ease. The tips and hacks she provides can be done relatively easy and will help reduce the amount of stress for both parents and children as you adjust and trek through another school year. She starts her back-to-school hacks list with setting routines. I am a huge fan of routines, and use them myself in my daily life. It is important to keep children on a routine, as much as possible, during school seasons. When they know what is expected of them it helps to avoid, or at least reduce, unnecessary rebellion. Also, given that it takes at least a good two months to form new habits, by by repeating their routine daily, they will have a better chance for adopting this new routine and reduce the amount of time you will have to spend reminding them of their schedules. Routines vary for every family or individual. There are many variables that come in to play when developing a school routine for your children. Marisa also discusses the idea of setting up a command center. The size and layout of your command center can depend greatly on the space and location you have available for one. We live busy lives, coming and going. Some families have two parents who work outside of the home, others have only one. But regardless of parents’ work schedules, setting up a command center is an invaluable back-to-school idea. At any given time, any member of the family can easily access and look over the command center and see upcoming events or the schedule for the day. You can search on Pinterest for ideas and suggests for setting up a functional command center. It can be as simple or as extravagant as you would like for it to be.
Setting routines and fostering an encouraging and supportive environment are key components of any successful school year. Getting back into the school swing, doesn’t have to be an exhaustive and stressful time. I hope these related articles will help provide you with some insight and encouragement as you set out on the new school year. Happy schooling!