We’re a few weeks into the new school year, and yesterday I realized we’d been careless about school starting this year. None of us really gave it much thought, because it was old hat for everyone–4th grade, 2nd grade, and preschool. Everyone has been to school in prior years, and no one’s going to a different building–it’s all comfortable and familiar.
We forgot that adjusting to a new schedule takes some time, and that everyone gets tired and cranky during the adjustment period. (Big people as well as little people, if not more so). Small changes are still changes, and we need to build in down time to allow ourselves to rest and recover.
Fall is a fresh start to the year for those that have school aged kids, teachers, or those in school themselves. A new routine, a new normal–but even good change can be stressful.
Do you have a highly sensitive child that’s resistant to change? I do, and I have to say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, at least in my family (ahem). Here are some ways to help everyone cope with the change of a new school year:
–it can be scary to be in a new classroom with no memories in it–it’s a big blank slate, and it’s easy to think about last year’s classroom through a soft and fuzzy lens. There are fun times and memories in that old classroom, and the new classroom seems a little sterile and cold, just because your child hasn’t made any memories in there yet. Sometimes talking about fun things that are to come can help overcome that. (Holiday parties, movie days, lunch in the classroom, ect)
–help your child focus on things that are familiar–depending on the classroom’s setup, having a small family photo in their supply box, lunchbox or coat pocket can help (plastic baseball card sleeves are great for protecting wallet sized photos!).
–help them to be as physically comfortable as possible. Wearing clothing that makes them feel comfortable and confident can make a big difference. If they’re bothered by sock seams or itchy tags, cut the tags out and find seamless socks! Make sure they take a sweatshirt or jacket in their backpack if they get cold easily, and if they’re hot natured, let them wear shorts if it’s a reasonable temperature. Highly sensitive children can be very distracted if they’re physically uncomfortable, so taking care of small details can make a huge difference to them. If their classroom allows them to bring a water bottle, help them take charge of bringing one every day.
–get enough sleep, exercise, balanced meals, and stick to a routine. Whenever possible, as soon as my boys get off the bus, they sit down to a snack, and tell me about their day. Then I send them outside to run around for awhile, and burn off any extra energy they have.
–be patient–one of the hardest parts is that it just takes time for new things to become familiar and routine, but they will.
What are your tips for helping kids adjust to a new school year?