Back to school tips from Lafayette Gardens Apartments in Lafayette, Louisiana. Some children have difficulty when it is time for school to start, be it their first time going, or after a long summer break. But amid a pandemic, when uncertainty abounds, parents encounter a new set of challenge when sending their children off to school. Many have grown accustomed to long periods at home, with COVID-19 shutdowns and summer break. Assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at John Hopkins University, Dr. Joseph McGuire, offers a few suggestions about how to prepare your child for back-to-school.
Lafayette Gardens Apartments offers one bedroom, two bedroom and three Bedroom Apartments in the River Ranch area of Lafayette, LA.
Establishing a Routine is Vital.
Setting a new routine is paramount. Many students spend their summers in unstructured days, juggling time with friends and family, and all is fun and without expectation. Some children may feel nervous about going back to school, while others are excited to see their old friends and find out what they missed. If children have a great friendship group, going back to school it’s exciting. While children that struggle at school, returning can be hard; last year’s problems will be there when they return. What is important is that you talk through their feelings.
How can you help your child prepare?
There are several strategies you can utilize: 1) Prepare your child, 2) Utilize coping skills, and 3) Manage their expectations. Preparing your child(ren) involves talking to them before they start and as they adjust to going back to school. Carve out time to ask questions and coach them where needed. For example, a few weeks before school starts, ask if they are excited about school, do you have questions, do you feel ready? Try to avoid leading questions toward worried responses. For example, you shouldn’t ask if they feel anxious.
Help establish structure.
Start by discussing the back-to-school routine, bed and wakeup times, after school schedule - including time for homework, dinner, bath, and bed time, while reinforcing coping skills. Advanced preparation can alleviate anxiety.
A week or so before the start of school, make time for a drive-by. On your way to school (drive-by), ask your child(ren) if there is anything they are excited about and ask if they have concerns.
Then, the night after school starts, make time to help them process their day. Ask positive questions, such as – what you do today. Continue taking this time to reflect on their day for a few days, can help them process and deal with anxiety if there is any.
Routines are great for parents and children; because each knows what to expect. Going over a weekly schedule allows each of you to process that information and make mental adjustments if necessary. Constant change in a schedule is exhausting. Discussing and establishing a routine provides consistency and confidence. Most people prefer to know what to do next, but this is especially true of children. Knowing how their day will proceed and what to do at various intervals of the day provides structure and that can reduce anxiety. Less anxiety provides a better opportunity to engage in active learning.
Back-to-school prep time varies from child to child. If you child tends to be more anxious than others their age, he or she may need more preparation and rehearsal. Chances are, you know what your child needs, and if you need to review the schedule every day for a week or two, or the day before school starts.
What if my child feels confident about going to school?
Some children are excited to school, and that’s great. For others, it may not feel real. Be aware that confident children, even though they aren’t concerned, can still benefit from preparation. Go over the if and what” scenarios - if I feel overwhelmed, what can I do. How do you find the school nurse? If a panic attack is imminent, do they know who can help? Help your child process as they adjust to school life. Ask general questions about how school was for you today, and was it what you were expecting?
For children with sensory issues.
Children that struggle with sensory issues, practicing early is recommended. For example, if the school requires facemasks be worn, start practicing at home. Have you child wear the facemask for increasing time for a week leading up to first-day-of-school. If busy rooms and noise are an issue, when and if possible, visit the school your child will attend and do a walk through. If classes have been assigned and the school allows, arrange a dry run, walk you child to the first class, then to recess area, back to the class and then to the lunchroom, and to either the car pick up line or bus line.
Recognize the signs of anxiety.
A smidge of anxiety is good, but it’s important that you recognize the signs if it becomes overwhelming. Children cope with anxiety in a variety of ways, some internalize, this may show as inability to sleep, or inability to focus, while others externalize anxiety, often seen in young boys; it is expressed by excessive activity, or they may become more oppositional. Parents may not understand why their son or daughter is behaving this way; it may be anxiety related.
Check with the school, academic feedback can be helpful. Are your child’s grades swaying. Communication with the school staff and teachers can be helpful. Establish open and honest dialogue with your child, give them room to share their experiences – good or bad without judgement.
Lafayette Gardens Apartments is located in the River Ranch area of Lafayette Louisiana. When you are looking for a family and pet friendly apartments in Lafayette, Louisiana be sure to stop by for a tour.
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