How to start the school year stress-free!

Ok, maybe not completely stress-free, but with as much confidence, peace, and joy possible. Many students struggle with the transition of returning to school. It is sometimes due to a traumatic summer (Move, grandparent’s death, divorce, parent’s loss of a job, family member incarcerated, etc.) or maybe last year at school was rough and there’s fear of this year being even worse. Nevertheless, here are my top 5 tips to start the school year with as much fun and excitement as possible. 1) Get to know your child’s classmates and their parents. Invite them to a community park to play where you are on neutral territory so you can all get to know each other better before bringing them to your home. Have lunch with your child the first or second week of school to help them make a new friend. Help them find similar interests that they might like to do together sometime. (Sports, movies, roller skating, Pokemon Go, or some other activity that they both like.)

2) Be open to new friends and experiences. School is all about learning. Part of what you will learn is how to get along with different personalities, and that’s really what life requires you to do. Don’t be too upset if your old friends seem to be drifting away – they’re probably making new friends, too. Growing up sometimes means that we have different interests than we did before, and the friends we used to have don’t always share them – that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you can’t still be friendly with them, it just means you’re both moving on with your lives and growing in different directions. 3) Younger kids like reading the story “The Kissing Hand” and they find it helpful to have something special in their pocket to hold or rub when they are feeling stressed. A special rock, cross, lucky coin, or photo, or love note can be treasured many times in a silent and unobtrusive way. 4) Give your child extra sharpened pencils to bring to school and give him/her permission to share them with others who say that they don’t have a pencil. This is a hot commodity in school and always needed. You can even bet more bonus points for having cool pencils with sports or cool designs on the pencils.

5) Children respond to the expectations that the adults in their lives set for them. Help motivate your child by providing positive feedback to instill self-confidence in your child. Praise your child and make a point to encourage your child’s best efforts.

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