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Tips to Start the School Year Off on a Positive Note

Tips to Start the School Year Off on a Positive Note

Managing the transition back to school can be an emotion-filled time. Excitement and curiosity about the new year, hope about friendships and experiences, and a desire to have a fresh start (for some students) are among the very positive feelings youth may experience. For some parents and families, back to school can even mean back to worrying, exhaustion and even sadness.

Let’s look at ways to get started on a positive path:
  • Speak positively about the new year. When parents say negative things, although sometimes well-meaning, they may also be creating anxiety. For example, saying things like “I hope you don’t get behind on your homework like you did last year” can create an expectation of failure, event though it may have been meant to encourage your child to keep current on work.
  • Routines are great for preparing the body and mind for back to school. Start with a set time for “screens off” which should optimally be a couple of hours before sleep. Have an evening snack with your child and practice some restful or relaxation strategies like listening to music, drawing, or deep breathing. Adjust this schedule to be closer to the school sleep/wake schedule they will need to practice for the school year as you get closer to the start of school.
  • If your child has difficulty with concentration and focus, it’s helpful to start therapy during the summer. This can help them to work on strategies to recognize distractions and practice refocusing once a distraction has occurred. This is helpful for youth that worry a lot or for those that are easily distracted.
  • Be mindful of increasing emotional struggles the student may be going through once school has started. Children don’t always express worry in straight forward ways, but might complain about not feeling well. They may complain of a stomach ache, headache, or have sleep disturbance.
  • Even though evenings after school might be busy scheduled sports practices and activities and you want to make sure homework is completed, we all need time to ourselves to unwind from the day. Allowing students time to decompress after school and do something they enjoy can be helpful.

It’s important that we not only teach our children how to take care of their physical health but also their mental health. These tips aren't just for students, we can all incorporate these into our day to help take care of our mental health.

If you have questions or concerns about your child’s mental health, start by talking to their teacher, guidance counselor or pediatrician for more ways on how you can help them succeed.