Fall brings with it cooler weather, changing leaves and a return to school. For most students returning to school is cause for happy excitement and a reunion of friends. But for others, it’s a time of stress and anxiety.
The transition from carefree summer days back to the classroom can be difficult for some students, particularly those who tend to be more disorganized or lack time management skills. For those students, it may be helpful to create a more structured daily schedule for them. This can include set times for meals, homework, play, and bed. Eliminate guesswork by keeping schedules where the entire family can see them.
For other students, the return to school brings with it social anxiety. Making and keeping friends is not a skill that comes easily or naturally to all kids and teens, but with a little help and patience it’s a skill that children can be taught. Parents can help their children make new friends by:
- Talking with them about traits that make good and bad friends
- Encouraging them to watch others their age interact and discussing what they notice
- Practicing ways in which children can introduce themselves that include conversation starters and appropriate topics of conversation
- Identifying behavior that might be impeding their ability to make and keep friends, such as being overly bossy or not sharing
- Working with your child’s teacher or school counselor to help kids incorporate what they practiced into their classroom.
As a parent, if you’ve tried everything and your child is still struggling or refuses to attend school, it might be helpful to seek help from a professional. A counselor or social worker can help you find new ways to manage and alleviate your family’s distress and enable everyone to have a happy, healthy school year.