Back to School Basics

By brandon

Getting ready to go back to school isn’t easy.  Your teenagers spent their summer playing video games, hopefully exploring the outdoors, hanging out with friends, and basically just looking for ways to have fun.

They haven’t had to think about homework, teachers, or lessons for months, and you haven’t had to worry about crazy mornings getting them up, fed, and out the door.  Just when everyone’s settled into a summer routine, the first day of school rolls around and upends it.  Readjusting to the daily school schedule doesn’t always go smoothly.

As your teen re-enters the classroom this fall, they are faced with an abundance of changes all at once.  They have to reorient their thought process in preparation for long school days. They are returning to early mornings, homework, new classes and for some, new schools.  It’s a lot to process.

As parents, there are things you can do for your children before they set foot on campus that will make the transition easier for them, both mentally and physically.  Some of these helpful tips may benefit you as well.

1. Adjust their schedule a few weeks in advance.

Summers are often filled with late nights and, consequently, late or unpredictable starts to the day.  By adjusting your teen’s sleep schedule and promoting an earlier bedtime and earlier mornings, you are helping them adjust their sleep habits so they can get the rest needed to get through long information-filled first days of school.

2. Purchase supplies with your teen.

This is a great opportunity to get your teen focused on the upcoming school year. It allows them to mentally prepare while giving them an opportunity to have fun picking out the tools they will use throughout the year. Selecting their supplies and an organization system will also promote a sense of responsibility.

3. Determine how your teen is getting to school.

Some parent’s schedules afford them the ability to drive their kids to school. If this is you, go over your morning routine with your teen so they know what time they need to wake up, get ready, and eat by to successfully leave the house with you in the morning. If your student will be taking the bus to school, it’s important to go over where the bus picks them up, drops them off, and what time they need to be at the bus stop. Lastly, if your teens are old enough to drive themselves to school, go over your expectations for them in relation to checking in, where they can and can’t go after school, and any other caveats related to their driving privileges.

4. Be a listening ear.

Starting off the school year is stressful and it can be a lot for students to process. As parents, it’s important to allow your teens room to express their nerves, fear, and even excitement in the lead up to and during the school year.

5. Help them un-plug.

Electronics have become a necessity to our way of life. Your teens have no doubt spent a chunk of this summer with a screen in their face. As the school year approaches, it’s important to scale back their screen time. When they’re in the classroom, they will be unable to default to scrolling through their social posts the moment boredom hits. Help them step away and detox so that setting their phones aside throughout the school day is easier for them.

6. Promote safety.

Lastly, talk about the importance of safety. As your teens get older, their activities will demand more independence. Whether they are driving to school, walking home, traveling to a sporting event with the team, or spending time with friends after school, it is important to reiterate the dangers they might encounter along the way. Who should they call if something happens? When should they call? What should they do if they feel pressured by someone to participate in a risky activity? The world is full of dangers, but if given the proper tools and preparation, your teen will be set up for success.

Lastly, ENJOY THIS TIME. The teen years won’t last forever.  Each new school year is a milestone.  Celebrate their accomplishments and take in every moment.  Before you know it, they will be walking across the stage for their diplomas and charting a course for adulthood.

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