Many questions arise before returning to a school routine. Like, how soon do I adjust a child’s sleep schedule? Will my child feel anxious since they have already been in school?
The challenges with a change in sleep and back to school routine can range from joy to apprehension. With different personality types, there is a no “one-size-fits-all” way to address those feelings for children. Each set of feelings are unique and important to acknowledge.
Ways to Make the Transition Back to School Less Stressful
From the very start children begin to comprehend the world around them through play. One way to reduce stress with transitions is to incorporate aspects of play into the routine. This can help calm nervous feelings and ease their minds. Even when children do not outwardly emote feelings, reassurance from parents can help them cope throughout the day, well past the point of drop-off.
Help your child to identify their feelings
Bring your child into the process. An easy way to have your child express their feelings, might be to engage them in pretend play with a toy doll. Ask your child, what does the doll need to get ready for back to school? How does the doll feel about going to school? The child can engage in role play to soothe the doll and encourage them. As a parent, we can play alongside them modeling what that care might look like as well.
In this scenario, your child engages critical thinking and can apply those skills later. Explore different approaches to see what works best. Observe your child’s natural response and remember to hear their thoughts before guiding.
As always, we are here to help with these big feelings. We welcome you to set-up a time to come in and visit with us before back to school. Also, stop in to our parent coffee on Monday at 9:30AM.
Before school starts, practice:
- creating a fun/silly song together or learn one with your child!
- expressing emotions through play.
- developing ways to express emotions through art.
NAEYC provides more in-depth suggestions on what can be done. The most important thing is for you to approach this as a partnership with your child. As the landscape of your child’s emotional development will continue to broaden, this conversation is one that will grow over the years.