Back to School Blues and How to Avoid Them
The beginning of a new school year can be a stressful time for students of any age, and, depending on the attitude shown by individual students, it can cause considerable anxiety for the whole family as well. Different personalities tend to take a different approach, and while some anticipate the new term with excitement and enthusiasm, others are filled with dread and reluctance. Parents and families can play an important role by being supportive and encouraging, and by taking the time to talk to their children about the unavoidable reality of going back to school.
Children in primary and intermediate grades may be in particular need of encouragement, and some talking about school before the actual first day may help to allay their fears. It is important to encourage a positive attitude, concentrating of the pleasant aspects of a new school year. A child’s perceptions can be unrealistic, and fears can be unfounded. Concentrating on the prospects of new friends, positive achievement, and exciting plans and goals can be helpful in stirring up some enthusiasm.
When the first day of school arrives, children may need to be reassured, and their self-confidence and sense of well-being will have to be bolstered. They may worry about not having the materials they need, or they may wonder if they are dressed in an appropriate manner. Parents can be mindful of these fears and take the necessary steps to make sure that everything is in order. It is also important to ensure that the returning student has an adequate lunch, or that proper lunchtime arrangements have been made.
Things usually begin to fall into place after the first day. Parents and other family members can help by talking about school, and by asking questions about new teachers and new friends. Children can be asked about their participation in the events of the day, and they can be encouraged to contribute to the activities with their thoughts and ideas. If they have found some assignments to be challenging or confusing, these can be discussed and worked out in the security of the home environment.
It is important to establish a proper balance at home between homework and social activities. While homework is a reality that must be provided for, children of all ages need to be involved in exciting and challenging programs in their home community. If they are registered in one or two programs, this will normally be sufficient. A social schedule that is too heavy can be counterproductive, as it places too many responsibilities on a child’s shoulders, and it can hinder good progress in school-related areas.
The amount of time scheduled for homework should vary according to the age of the student. Primary, junior, and intermediate students will need time slots of between 20 and 60 minutes, while high school students may need more time. In any case, when the appropriate time has passed, the work should be left for another day. Parents should not hesitate to discuss homework time with their child’s teacher, if the assignments seem to be too heavy. Adjustments and modifications can easily be made.
The thought of going back to school for a new school year can be daunting for many children. Parents and other family members should not be unduly concerned about their child’s anxiety, but they can certainly help by offering encouragement and understanding. With family support, most children can face their first day with confidence and success.