Back to School Basics for Parents - Deepstash

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Back to School Basics for Parents

Back to school resources & advice for parents

Plan For The First Week Of School

Plan For The First Week Of School

If your child is in elementary school, then they probably don’t have too many expectations. However, if your child is a tween or teen who has more specific expectations regarding their schooling, then the first week of school will be more important.

You can help your child organize their schedule and decide when they need to do things like catch up on their homework, study for tests, and complete extracurricular activities. By doing this, you can make sure that your child has all the time they need to do everything they have to do and have a positive experience when school starts again.

Plan Play Dates Before School Starts

Plan Play Dates Before School Starts

Kids always get excited to see their friends, and one way to get them excited about going back to school is to get them excited to see their friends at school.

A week or so before school starts, arrange play dates with your kids' friends so that they re-bond. Kids who have friends at school will actually look forward to going back to school.

Buy New School Gears & Supplies

Buy New School Gears & Supplies

Even if your kids still have their old backpack, lunchbox, and water bottles from last year, it is a good idea to buy them new school gear to get them excited about going back to school. Take your kid(s) shopping for back-to-school gears and supplies and let them be a part of the fun.

If you can't afford to buy new school gear, let them buy new school supplies like notebooks, pens, pencils, and all the supplies your kids would need at school. You can always shop online if you are short of time.

Set your menu for the week

Set your menu for the week

  • Setting aside an hour or two on a Saturday or Sunday will help you tremendously during the school week.
  • Look on Pinterest, flip through your favorite magazines, or look online to search for recipes. Create a menu for the week.
  • Once you have some dinner recipe inspiration, write a grocery list and go shopping.
  • Feel free to get your kids involved too.

Make a portable breakfast parfait

Make a portable breakfast parfait

For a quick make-ahead weekday breakfast that works in a lunch box, too, assemble yogurt parfaits in a jar. They're protein-rich, nutritious, and kid-friendly.

The steps:

  • Spoon 3/4 cup Greek yogurt into a jar with a lid.
  • Drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons maple syrup over the yogurt, top with 1/3 cup melted frozen raspberries, and finish with a spoonful of granola or toasted nuts.
  • Cover with a lid and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Set up for breakfast before bed

Set up for breakfast before bed

Setting up for breakfast before going to bed will save time and stress in the morning.

  • For example, use the timer on your coffee machine.
  • If you are having cereal, put out the bowls and spoons along with the cereal boxes.
  • Have washed berries in a bowl ready to grab from the fridge.

Packing lunches the night before also means that parents can enjoy their food instead of scrambling to get lunchboxes ready.

Why children get back-to-school anxiety

Why children get back-to-school anxiety

Every year, most students have a few nerves about going back to school. This is normal with the change in routine and unknowns of what a new school year will bring. School may also bring unique worries and pressures that cause anxiety, such as:

  • The need to fit in socially and make friends
  • Fears of bullying or peer pressure
  • Academic pressure to make good grades
  • Athletic pressure (to make the team or to perform well on the field)
  • Life changes, like entering a new school
  • Anxiety about security and safety at school.

Anxiety about going back to school during a pandemic

While the pandemic is no longer a "new" thing, highly contagious variants continue to cause its spread.

  • Students may worry about their health or a loved one's.
  • They may also worry about potential interruptions to their school year or extracurricular activities. The stress of the past few years may continue to affect students as well.

It's important to validate any concerns your child has by checking in with them frequently. Encouraging children to focus on what they can control is a good way to manage anxiety, too.

Signs a child is feeling anxious about school

Signs a child is feeling anxious about school

Children show anxiety in different ways. If you're concerned your child is feeling anxious about school, be on the lookout for changes in your child's behavior and mood.

  • Signs of anxiety can include:
  • Disturbances in sleep
  • Increased defiance or irritability
  • Lack of concentration
  • Less energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Physical symptoms like nausea, stomach aches, muscle tension or dizziness
  • Refusal to go to school
  • Sadness or crying.

Changing the routine

Changing the routine

It is important for kids to have a daily routine but occasionally, small changes in their daily habits can stimulate their brains to think in different ways, which will provoke curiosity.

It can be something as simple as changing the bar of soap they normally use, for foam soap and letting them discover the new texture, play with it and determine which they prefer.

Positive surprises can enhance a child’s curiosity

You could leave a good morning note under their pillow, organize a treasure hunt for a snack, or invite someone they like for lunch and don’t tell them until the loved person arrives.

A day off school

A day off school

If you can take a day off work and let your child skip school, they will remember it his entire life.

You can spend some enjoyable time together: take them to the local bookstore and eat their favorite ice cream. But you will need to make it clear that it is an exceptional day.

Just be sure to know they aren’t missing out on anything that day at school.

Parental pressure

Parental pressure

This is the emotional stress parents impose upon their children and is often related to academic performance, extracurricular activities, social standards, appearance, friendships, and romantic relationships.

Certain parenting experiences might prompt you to pressure your kids to make different choices, such as when:

  • your child struggles with something that came easily to you
  • your child makes different life decisions than you did
  • your child chooses friends who you think are poor influences.

You may feel that your own choices could make their lives easier, more successful, or earn you the admiration of other parents in your circle.

Types of parental pressure

There are two main forms of parental pressure: direct pressure and indirect pressure.

  • Direct pressure often involves yelling, force, or complaining.
  • Indirect pressure may involve guilt-tripping your child or reminding them of rigid expectations.

The mental health effects of parental pressure

Excessive or inappropriate parental pressure carries many mental health consequences for kids as they grow up.

Studies suggest that children who grow up with parents who yelled, shouted, or verbally humiliated them may have a greater likelihood of experiencing challenges  such as:

  • depression
  • negative self-talk
  • anger management problems
  • physical aggression
  • delinquency
  • eating disorders and body image
  • trouble maintaining relationships.

Bullying can exist in many forms

Bullying can exist in many forms

It can be physical (pushing, punching, or hitting), verbal (name-calling or threats), or psychological and emotional (spreading rumors or excluding someone from a conversation or activity).

And with the pervasive use of social media, inappropriate behavior between kids can occur outside of school hours via emails, text messages, and Instagram posts (cyberbullying).

How to recognize bullying

  • Typical bullying symptoms include physical complaints such as tummy aches, as well as worries and fears, and a child not wanting to go to school. 
  • Anormal defense is to avoid or withdraw from things that are making them stressed.
  • Of course, these symptoms are not exclusive to bullying, but they still warrant a deeper probe into what may be behind them
  • It can be helpful to ask questions and get your kids talking about their social situation.
  • As kids get older, they have a significant awareness of peer relationships, so you can be more direct with your questions.

Have a plan in place

If your child is being bullied, it's important that you help them understand that it is never their fault. Bullying is always more about the person who is engaging in the behavior and not the person being targeted.

It's not up to a child to prevent their own bullying, but it can be helpful to have a plan in place for how to address it and potentially help stop it from escalating.

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