How to Get Your Child Socially and Emotionally Ready for the New School Year
After gathering the needed school supplies, parents should be making sure kids have the emotional and social tools and skills they need to enjoy the school year.
Many children experience anxiety at this time, being filled with the stress of what starting school again will entail. From bullying and being nervous about making friends and having a new teacher, there’s a lot that can weigh on a child. It’s important for them to have a plan in place to ease their jitters.
Lynell Rice Brinkworth, LMFT/QMHP, with Spirals Counseling, Inc. says, “Allowing them to connect with friends ahead of time so that way they can, you know, have a plan for ‘Hey, let’s meet for lunch’ or ‘let’s meet before the bell goes off in the morning,’ so that way they don’t feel like they’re alone. They feel support and they feel connected.”
Students could experience academic/performance anxiety, feeling pressure on getting good grades. This is when parents should stress progress over perfection.
“We want them to show progress and improvement over that perfection and that can be really important. And share about times that maybe you made mistakes and how we learned, you learned, from those mistakes. So give them that example, so that way they realize that we all make mistakes and that’s ok and that’s how we get better.”
Have a discussion about bullying. Remind them that bullying is never okay and to speak up if it happens. Discuss having boundaries, being a good role model, and getting help when needed. Even to go as far as practicing what they would say or do in certain situations.
And at the end of the school day, rather than asking ‘How was your day,’ try a more conversational approach.
“Asking what went well today, what did you like about the school day, what is one thing that you learned, so that way you are engaging and having a conversation — which still may be short but at least it’s a conversation versus just a one-word response. So open ended questions are really helpful.”
And make sure to discuss balance. Lynelle says students should not over schedule themselves with too many extracurricular activities, rather give equal time each night for a family dinner, homework and down time.