As we launch into August, the arrival of a new school year is on each parent’s mind. By now you have received information from the school explaining how to best prepare your child for the new school year. But what about you? How can you prepare yourself for the start of an exciting anxiety free school year? Here are a few suggestions:

Reduce Morning Stress — That first hour of the morning can make or break how the remainder of the day goes for you and your child. Wake yourself up 30 to 40 minutes earlier than usual the first week of school so you can be available when your child wakes up. This allows you extra time to address any unforeseen issues like the lost shoe, a sibling dispute, or signing a misplaced school form.

Practice Patience — The first full week of school will be a shock for the entire family but please be patient. Your child’s fatigue and irritability may last beyond one week as they adjust to the new schedule and grade level expectations. Often for younger children it may take three or four weeks for them to feel comfortable with the new routine. Even older students may be stressed anticipating the start of a new year. The middle school and high school age student’s apprehensiveness may be different than those of your elementary age child but it is still very real and intense. You may see them become quiet or moody as they anticipate the uncertainties of a new school year. You may need to practice your extreme patience with a child in the middle school or high school years. Encourage your teen to talk about the start of the school year and the new challenges that concern them.

Bedtime Routine — You may want to start the early-to-bed routine several days before school begins. This is essential so that a smiling face greets you in the morning versus a flood of tears or a frown. Take time to sit and read a book together or for an older child to have a quiet conversation for a few minutes as your family wraps up another busy day.

Be Positive — School may or may not have been a positive experience for you. But you want the best for your child and that means fostering a positive attitude about their school experience. Talk about the activities of their day. Ask about recess, lunch, their friends, or one of their favorite subjects. Keep an open line of communication with the school. Do not hesitate to contact the teacher with questions or concerns regarding your student. Your child’s academic success is sure to happen with your positive involvement.

Diana Fasnacht is the director of Ready to Learn for the United Way of Adams County.

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