Mixed emotions from students, parents, and teachers arise as Back To School approaches. Teachers preparing for the upcoming semester are already back to work, planning, organizing and stocking up on wholesale coffee. At the same time, parents and children flux between happiness, anxiety and a myriad of other emotions existing in the polychromatic scale. So the question remains: How can I prepare myself and my family for the shift back to school?
Many articles identify one aspect of preparation, but a holistic and comprehensive examination of the phenomenon we call “Back to School” rarely exists. Psychological and physical needs have to be taken into account as we discuss the plethora of emotions related to this exciting, and sometimes chaotic season. Here are a few tips I compiled as I scoured the internet.
No doubt, one of the greatest stresses to families during the Back-to-School season is physical and financial needs. It is easy to feel overwhelmed in this area, especially when it seems to sneak up on us. I have read a few great articles from US News and USA Today that seek to address the issue. Here are the key points:
- Know what you have already – Don’t buy things that you may have left over from last year (notepads, writing utensils, backpack, etc.). You should take inventory of what you can reuse and what needs to be replaced and work from there.
- Tell your children your budget – It is easy to get carried away when looking for new clothes. By communicating what you can spend, both you and your child can work together to stay within the realm of possibility.
- Spread out buying – Many stores will have sales on items that rotate (e.g., Pens on sale one week, markers the other, backpacks the next). If you can, wait until after the semester starts. Retailers sometimes wait to mark down items until after this busy season – the only outlier would be electronics (some retailers carry specialty items designed for back-to-school).
Most students will experience some sort of anxiety when heading back to school; undoubtedly due to the substantial change in environment and scheduling. Here are a few steps Autism Speaks, Psychology Today, and I found to be true when trying to reduce stress.
- Begin the routine – By starting to wake up your child at an earlier time each morning – with the ultimate goal being the time they would have to wake up during the school week –your child becomes less anxious or unprepared to wake up early. The same is true about bedtimes and time spent watching TV or playing Games.
- Start to Socialize – During Summer, children can become withdrawn from high levels of social activity – especially with the rise in social media, and video games. Working in times for your child to engage in large group settings can help to alleviate the anxiety associated with being in a large school or class.
- Stay positive – Focusing on something that your child can look forward to, not only creates excitement but establishes a positive association with change. This could be seeing old friends, experiencing new electives, or joining an after-school club.
It is important to recognize long lasting anxieties like Social Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Selective Mutism, and General Anxiety Disorder. Seek proper help if conditions persist or get worse over the course of the school year.
Hopefully, this will help your family as you prepare for the upcoming semester. As for all of us at Bridge Builder Academy, we look forward to getting back to what we love! Remember that we have a Meet and Greet scheduled for the 18th in which we will be following up with Pokemon Go at the UTD Campus!