6 back-to-school tips for your kids - and yourself
Students on P.E.I. head back to school on Sept. 6. That can be exciting for some kids — not to mention parents! — but it can also mean added stress.
Charlottetown psychologists Susan Hartley and Ken Pierce have a few tips on helping your student transition back to school after a carefree summer.
1. Cut them some slack
It's a tough adjustment for any human being, regardless of their age, to go from more freedom to less freedom, Pierce says.
"So go easy and gentle. Treat your kids like you want to be treated your first day back at work after your vacation."
2. Make things predictable
"When we're facing any kind of change, it's nice to know what it's going to look like," says Hartley.
It's just as stressful for you as parents as it is for your children, so go easy on yourself as well.- Ken Pierce
If it's a new school, walk around it with them, she suggests.
If it's a new route to school, walk it with them or drive the route the school bus will take.
Where will they eat, what will they have for snacks? Try to answer those questions beforehand, and be available to hear their concerns.
3. Start the school routine now
If your kids have been sleeping in all summer, now is the time break that habit.
Hartley suggests setting bedtimes and wake up times at least a week before school starts — for everyone in the house.
"Start those sort of routines, put the school bag in the place that it's going to be as they're running out the door, those sorts of things so they are already on board with the structure and routine of the school day."
4. Involve them in the preparation
As much as you can, let them help choose their school supplies and clothes.
"Sometimes it's good to pick one special thing that they go shopping for if you don't want to lug your kids around to buy everything," Hartley says.
5. Mark the occasion
This should be a time to celebrate, Hartley says.
"Whether it's the weekend before or the weekend after, have a special event or meal or activity that the family likes to do to mark the end of summer and the beginning of the school season."
6. Don't forget yourself
You've had your kids around all summer and while you might welcome a break, you might not be ready to say goodbye to them for the day, either.
"It's just as stressful for you as parents as it is for your children, so go easy on yourself as well," says Pierce.
"This too will pass, because we will soon be talking about Halloween!"
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