9 Ways to Beat the Back to School Blues

Well, it is that time of the year again. You know, that time when teenagers eyes start to roll in the back of their heads, elementary kids are sad to see the summer go but happy to see their friends, and parents are beside themselves excited for their children to have a routine! Class schedules are being posted online to see which friends have classes together, meet the teacher night is taking place, school supply lists are all over the kitchen counter, and we just can’t seem to find the folders in aisle 9 at Walmart! No matter if you feel ecstatic, sad, or indifferent to the school year, starting the school year off right is important for our students to have a successful year – no matter what grade they are headed in to. One of my favorite summer, childhood memories was when my mom would take my siblings and I to the mall for our big back-to-school shopping trip. Here we would find the new Nikes (that were in mom’s price range), new jeans since we probably out grew the old ones, the cool new trapper keeper (yes! trapper keeper!), our favorite #2 mechanical pencils, and of course, we could not intentionally forget the Kleenex! Back to school shopping was my mom’s way of intentionally spending time with us as the summer ended and the hectic schedule of the school year began. It was a moment to start us out on the right foot for a successful school year. Today, I’m going to share with you 9 ways beat the back to school blues, and hopefully create a path for a successful year. I have compiled these ideas by posting a question on my Facebook page and through my own experience of working with children, teens, and parents over the past ten years. …So, 9 ways to beat those back to school blues: 1) Get Excited! Your child is beginning another year of growth. The beginning of the school year is an opportunity to start fresh, to start anew! If last year was a tough year, remind them that this year starts with a clean slate. As humans, we feed off of one another’s excitement, so get excited about school and just maybe your little humans will too! 2) Set Goals Take some time one night as a family and create goals for yourselves (parents included!). What were some struggles last year? What do you hope to learn? What will you commit to doing at school this year? Will you join a club? Try out for a team? Run for Student Council? Try for 1st seat Trumpet? Try harder in art? Only go to the principles office once a semester? Don’t force goals on your child, but help them to think critically about the goals they would like to set, and as a parent, set some goals for yourself. Will you volunteer? Check their planner every night? Go to at least one parent teacher conference this year? Read them a story at least three times a week? What goals as a parent do you need to set to help set your child up for success? 3) Do something to mark the end of the summer. Celebrate! Go to the beach! Go see a movie! Take a hike! Throw an ice cream party and invite school friends over. The summer has hopefully been a time to relax a little more than normal and hey, you made it through the summer with the kids at home! Celebrate this. Celebrate a great summer, good weather, a new beginning! Do something fun to mark the end of a fun summer and the start of a fun school year. This will help generate excitement as mentioned in #1. 4) Get organized Your child has either been home most of the summer or been away at camps most of the summer, so more than likely their room is a mess! Not only that, but your child has grown! There are clothes in that closet that just do not fit or they simply do not like anymore. Take a day to get organized! Donate the clothes or pass them down to a sibling or a friend who could get use out of them, and of course, make room for the new. Organizing is a great way to figure out exactly what new clothes are actually needed. One parent on my Facebook page suggested, having your child help create lunch and snack lists. This is a great way to work together to come up with a shopping list, without getting a headache wondering what do they want for lunch this week!? 5) Go back-to-school shopping with them! Even if it’s just for the school supplies, allow your child/children to take ownership in this school year. What do they need? This does not have to be excessive, it can be simple. Set a budget for clothes and for supplies, and get creative with where you will shop. Clue them in on the budget and use it as a time to get back into some math practice! But more than anything, shopping allows for some built-in intentional, quality time spent with your child. One day, not too long from now, there won’t be any more back-to-school days; enjoy it while you can! 6) Start a routine back up; make adjustments where needed. With the summer, bedtime either does not exist or has been pushed back a little. At least a week before school starts, begin to adjust bedtime and/or curfew. Start to lay out clothes for the next day before they turn in for the night. Make sure you spend some time the week before school starts talking with your child to ensure that they understand what the routine will typically look like, and then practice (especially for the little ones, just starting school). 7) Write encouraging notes throughout the year. Do they just need to know that you love them or are proud of them? Do they have a test today? Did they not make the team they so desperately were hoping to make? Was a friend mean to them yesterday? Do they just need to see that verse or hear that word? Get in the habit of writing notes to your children (no matter their age!). Stick them on the mirror in the bathroom or in the cup holder of the car. Include it in her lunchbox. Text him. Maybe this happens daily, weekly, or monthly, but find a rhythm that works for you and make this a priority! 8) Communicate with your child. One of the best habits I watched a mother do during the school year was each night when she would tuck her kids in to bed. She would sit with each one of them and just talk with them. She wasn’t rushed by the 8:30pm bedtime. If it was 8:33pm and the second child was still talking, she would listen, she would ask questions, and she would pray. This may not be the bedtime routine for you, but maybe you talk at the counter after school, when homework time is happening, or maybe your talks happen over dinner or in the car ride after practice. Just find a way to let your child talk and listen. Be a presence for them. Be a sounding board. Walk through this academic year with them, knowing their fears, frustrations, and excitements. 9) Pray, Pray, Pray! That child of yours, belongs to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This day, this month, this year – it is all for the glory of God. Give it to God. Lift your child up by name, pray for their teachers, principles, bus drivers, school board, and their friends. Cover this school year, continuously, in prayer. Give over your anxiety and theirs. Praise God for that good test, or that one good day in the midst of four lousy ones. The truth is, these are not sure-fire ways to set up your child for a good start to a successful school year. However, I believe with everything in me, that these are ways to start the year off on a good note. Doing these things lets your children know you are a presence in their lives. More than anything, strive for presence, not perfection, and walk in grace – for yourself and for your child. It is that time of year, once again, but soon your child who you cannot believe is starting his first day of kindergarten, will be going to his first day of his senior year – make the most out this time and be sure to enjoy it! ~Kristi If your child is struggling to transition to school, or you need some extra parenting advice, Click Here to learn about our play therapy and parenting services. Kristi Moore is a student at Campbell University Divinity School finishing up her final year of the Masters of Divinity program. She has worked with middle school and high school students for 11 years in the church and school system. She has combined her love of writing with her desire to see human beings understand who they are in Christ, along with her own life experiences to write these blogs. Her greatest hope for this blog is that the readers learn something about God, about themselves, and may be able to smile at some point while reading! Be blessed!!