Back to School

The end of summer marks a new season and the time to return to school.  This transition is made easier by beginning your preparations during the second half of the summer.  Returning to the school year sleep and wake schedule should be accomplished at least 1-2 weeks before school starts. Healthy and successful sleep routines make mornings better and learning easier.  A healthy diet and a consistent schedule also help. Make sure all summer reading has been completed and talking about the positive aspects of returning to school are also important topics. This summer to school transition can be a fun time filled with new friends and new opportunities. Address school related fears with non-judgmental understanding and support. Patience and optimism are essential.

This is also a good time to make sure your child is up to date on immunizations and make sure there are no vision or hearing concerns. A visit to your pediatrician during the summer is a good place to start. Talk about safety issue relating to strangers and traveling to and from school. Bus, car, bike and walking safety tips are also good topics to discuss.  Healthy behaviors including the importance of a healthy breakfast and lunch as well as the use of a backpack that is not too heavy and is fitted properly are also important.

The return of school is a time when overanxious patterns, separation issues and anxiety often appear. These patterns must be recognized and addressed.  Everyone experiences change. Children must develop the ability to accept and cope with change. Entering school for the first time, returning to school and leaving for college are opportunities for both parent and child. Your response as a parent is very important. Your physical and emotional responses have direct and indirect effects on you and your child. During periods of moderate to severe stress negative physical and emotional changes occur in you and your child. Your ability to modulate stress affects long term health and well-being.  You are the best model of positive and adaptive behavior for your child. Periods of change marked by a return to school foster independence, exploration and decision making in your child.