The end of summer and the start of school can be a mixed bag for all concerned, students and parents alike.
Some parents are excited to get back into their routine and not feel that they have to entertain their kids for a 12-hour stretch; others mourn the loss of freedoms that go along with summer.
No matter which camp you're in, this can be a very stressful time for both parent and kids.
Knowing this ahead of time, parents can prepare themselves, as well as their children, to ease back into school.
Here are a few tips for a smoother transition:
• Maintain a positive attitude about summer ending. Talk to your students about some of the things that they might be looking forward to during this school year. Give them the opportunity to discuss some of their concerns, too; but remember that kids will usually follow your lead. Stay positive!
• Make back-to-school shopping a fun experience. Once all the school supply lists are fulfilled, you should plan on taking the kids out to lunch or to get ice cream.
• Help your child adjust to the back-to-school mode by making sure they get plenty of sleep. In the summer, kids enjoy the freedom of staying up late. As the new school year looms ever close, begin to shift to the school year bedtime routine.
• Lastly, parents need to be prepared for a few chaotic mornings. Even as adults we struggle to get back into our routine, so be patient! Yelling doesn't making the morning any less harried; it usually just stresses everyone out.
Parents should remind their kids that the new school year is an exciting time; they're moving up a grade level, they get to reconnect with their friends and, most importantly, it's a fresh start.
One last note...most children will experience mild anxiety when returning to school. It's normal.
If you notice that your child is struggling to sleep, though, throwing more tantrums, and/or complaining about not feeling good for a prolonged period of time, these may be signs of a more serious issue. If this happens, you may want to consult with the school counselor or your child's (children's) pediatrician.
Amy Sturm is a Catholic Charities of Tennessee School Counselor serving the Immaculate Conception School community in Clarksville.