Parents throughout the county are starting to prepare for the first day of school, which is less than a week away for many! Most children have not followed a consistent routine since the last day of school back in June. Now that school is about to begin, it is likely that most children will complain about having to shut down their electronics and go to bed at a certain time. Others will refuse to wake up in the morning, causing parents to become frustrated and angry. Many parents are already visualizing the chaotic mornings in their homes, which will include tantrums, forgetfulness, and the feeling of constantly being rushed. As a result, many parents ask how they can prepare their children after a long summer and decrease the chaos associated with the beginning of the school year. The following are some recommendations that you and your family may find helpful to prepare for the beginning of the school year.
The key factor in preparing children is to implement the structure back in the home as soon as possible. Preparations for the first day of school, including buying school snacks, school supplies, and uniforms, should be done early as to avoid crowded stores and the possibility of not finding certain items. Additionally, starting a new school year could be anxiety provoking for most children due to new teachers, peers, classrooms, and sometimes even a new school. Adjustment difficulties at the beginning of the school year are important to address as they could lead to more significant problems during the school year, including acting out behaviors, school refusal, or poor academic performance. Scheduling a school visit before the first day of school could help decrease the anxiety related to starting at a new school as well as setting up a meeting with other students before the first day of school may be a helpful way for children to feel more comfortable about seeing their peers in school.
Setting expectations is also extremely important for children and they should be aware of what to expect. Expectations include tasks that each child may be responsible for, after-school schedules, and consequences that will be implemented if homework is not completed on time. One way parents can make expectations clear in the home is by setting up a visual schedule for each child and a chore chart for each child. Using visuals helps remind children of the tasks they are to complete and allows them to monitor their own progress. The use of rewards and praise for completing tasks will increase motivation and increase each child’s compliant behaviors in the home.
Lastly, if problems persist, it may be helpful to meet with a licensed psychologist who could assist you and your family implement structure in the home and help you begin the school year as smoothly as possible. Contact the Miami Psychology Group if you are interested in gaining more information regarding the services that are offered.