Helping parents, kids stay sane through the back to school transition
By Mary Hightower
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Aug. 22, 2016
- Back to school transitions affect parents, children
- Patience, flexibility go a long way to coping with change
- See ‘Family Life Fridays’ blog at http://bit.ly/2b9g0LD
LITTLE ROCK – Back to school means changes, not only for children, but also their parents.
Brittney Schrick, PhD, assistant professor-family life for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, pens a Family Life Fridays blog and included a few tips to keep the drama to a minimum.
“Especially if the school routine is new to you, back to school can be a tough transition,” she said. “Some patience and flexibility go a long way in helping relieve the stress of a new school year.”
Get into a routine
“Routines are wonderful tools,” she said. “Routines cut down on anxiety, ease time management and allow for increased independence.”
Schrick said it’s important to set clear expectations and allow time to get into routines for both night and morning.
For parents, Schrick urges patience. “Routines, even familiar ones, don’t get back on track in a day or even a week,” she said. “Give yourself and your family time to get into the groove. If you notice consistent problems or hang-ups, look for solutions.”
Get some sleep
Set consistent bedtimes and wake up times. “Kids need consistency and they also need rest,” Schrick said. Older kids will want the freedom to go to bed later than younger kids, but everyone has to get up early. “While older kids may balk at the earlier bed time, and some nights it may be difficult to make it due to practices or other obligations, aim for the same time every night.”
“Bedtime is for parents too,” she said. “Take a little while to decompress after kids go to bed, but you need a consistent bedtime and wake time as much as your kids do.”
Schrick said parents should not be afraid to say no to too many commitments. Kids and adults need down time.
“It’s easy to get sucked into too many activities at the beginning of school,” she said. “Be thoughtful about what you sign up for and what you allow your child to participate in. Especially if you have more than one child, you may find yourself constantly shuttling children around to activities and meetings.”
That being said, Schrick said parents need to be willing to adjust.
“If the commute/drop-off schedule you worked out in theory doesn’t work in practice, make adjustments,” she said. “You may need to leave earlier (or later), you may need to take a different route, you may need to divide and conquer if you have the option, with one parent or guardian dropping off one child and one dropping off another. Explore other options such as one child riding the bus or carpooling with another family if their school is across town or walking/bike riding if it is close enough.”
To see the rest of her tips about the back to school transition visit http://bit.ly/2b9g0LD.
For more information about family life, www.uaex.edu or contact your county extension office.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Media Contact: Ryan McGeeney
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service