It is officially September and that means, kids are going back to school. I still get butterflies in my stomach when September starts as I’m brought right back to the first day jitters. Your kids may be excited, nervous, terrified or all of the above. You may be losing sleep worrying about their first day, whether or not they’re going to have a hard time adjusting. All of this is perfectly normal, but that doesn’t make it any easier! I can completely relate to all of the feelings that come with the return to school and I have some tips below that have helped us with the adjustment!
Staying Organized Keeps the Calm
As parents, our job is to help our children feel safe and loved. Many of the kids returning this year have been at home doing virtual learning, or they have been in daycare or other childcare settings. Returning to school with so much uncertainty is overwhelming for most of us; kids and parents alike. One of the tips that helps me most during the transition back to school is staying organized. While this is much easier on paper, I do feel like making this a priority can be the difference between happy parents and children, and frazzled ones. For the first two weeks especially, I prepare lunches and lay out clothes for both myself and the kids the night before, water bottles are full in the fridge, I set my alarm 15 minutes
earlier to have a hot coffee before tackling the day and most importantly, their backpacks are ready to go. This strategy really helps me to stay calm, organized and patient. When I am calm, my kids are too!
Avoid Questioning your Child after School
It’s the first day of school, you have no idea how your child is feeling, if they’re making friends, if they like their teacher, if they’re having fun - it’s hard to spend the day not knowing all of these things! I often feel the urge to ask every question under the sun when I pick them up just so that I can have some idea of how things went. I am guilty of doing this and almost every time I do, my kids will shut down. The first couple weeks of school are a huge transition. They are adjusting to making new friends, a new place and possibly a new teacher as well. When you pick up your little ones, give them space to share when they are ready. Keep the questions to a minimum so you don’t overwhelm their already overwhelmed little minds. Be the safe space they need when you retrieve them from school, welcome them with a hug and maybe a comforting snack. Do them a favour and limit the questions, especially the first few days!
Discuss and Acknowledge Fears
Going back to school can be a scary time for some and it’s natural for us to want to reassure our children that they shouldn’t be scared, school is fun and they have nothing to worry about. While our intentions are good, it can be a lot more helpful to acknowledge your child’s feelings. For example when your child says, “I’m scared to go to school” you might say, “I know you’re scared, it’s okay to be scared, starting something new is scary. I get scared when I have to try new things too!” Letting your child know their feelings are valid and heard can help to normalize them!
Limit Activities during the Adjustment Phase
Now that you are back to a solid routine, you may be eager to fit in fun outings with your little ones in the evening or on the weekends. While they still appear to have insurmountable amounts of energy, know that starting a new adventure like school is an emotional rollercoaster (for them and us!). It can be draining and having down time to recharge is really important. Try to limit extracurricular activities for at least the first two weeks to give your little one time to adjust. Stick to your evening routine as much as possible and don’t forget to make your little one’s bedtime routine a priority! Give your children extra undivided attention. The absolute best thing I know I can do for my little ones when they start school, is to spend quality time with them when they are home. I know, you’re thinking “I still need to do laundry, make dinner, clean the house,” and ALL the things, BUT I want to challenge you to really make it a priority to give your little one your undivided attention even if it’s only for 20 minutes every evening. What does that mean? Well, it means I want you to stop scrolling through our awesome new products on House of Jude, put the phone down and follow your child’s lead! If they want to play basketball with you, do it! If they want to play dolls, do it! If they want to do arts and crafts with you….well yes, do it! Filling your little one’s cup
is so incredibly important during times of transition (and quite frankly, always!) and I promise, it will help to fill your cup too!
Most of all, be patient and give yourself and your little ones some grace. Change is hard but everyone will adjust!
Wishing you and your little ones a wonderful start to the new school year!