How to Beat the Back to School Blues
Coping Skills

Happy First Day of School: How to Beat the Back-to-School Blues

Are you already fearing the back-to-school blues? I am. This year, we escaped the southern hemisphere winter and travelled to sunny Spain to see family for the summer holidays. Can you imagine what it means to plunge back into winter without the mild months of autumn to help us ease into it? But, no matter how awful it feels to leave the holiday period behind, there are a number of things we can do to make sure our kids have a happy first day of school. So, let’s dive into my “happiness” back-to-school checklist and try to understand back-to-school blues a bit better.

Post Index:
-What do we call back-to-school blues
-Why do we suffer back-to-school blues
-Who may suffer the back-to-school blues
-A happy first day of school: A checklist with tips and ideas to help us beat the back-to-school blues

What is the “back-to-school blues”?

It is a feeling of sadness, anxiety or grief we experience when we transition from the holiday period into the routines of the school term or the office life.

Why do we experience back-to-school blues?

For most people, holidays are the time of the year when obligations, work responsibilities, school assignments and very structured lifestyles are left aside. We move into more relaxed routines, we dive into leisure activities, meet friends and family or visit holiday destinations. Giving up all this and moving back to our commitments and obligations may feel a bit too much.

Who suffers from back-to-school blues?

The name may lead us to think that it is a kids thing. But we all may feel at some point in time the back-to-school blues. Parents and kids alike.

Parents may be worried about:

-going back to jobs they may not really enjoy

-the workload that has piled up during the holiday period

-budget constraints with all the extra expenditure we may incur during the back to school period

-how their kids will cope with new schools, new teachers or just being back to school (for those of us with kids with special needs, kids adjusting to a new situation is always a matter of concern)

For kids, going back to school means:

-Leaving behind all the summer fun

-Meeting new teachers

-Sometimes finding they´ve been moved to a new class and separated from their group of friends

A happy first day of school: A checklist with tips and idea to help kids beat the back-to-school blues

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What can we do to help our kids transition into the new school year? You may find some very good ideas in this “happy” back-to-school checklist:

1. Go back in advance to your usual routines

Get back to the routines you abandoned or let a bit loose at the beginning of the holiday. Do it before school starts. Get the kids earlier to bed so that they get used to the school routine and don’t start exhausted their first days.

Tip for toddlers and kids with special needs: If you need a bit of help with going back to your routines, you can always use a magnetic chore chart. This one has awesome reviews and comes with 60 preprinted chores and 10 extra cards to add some additional chores.

2. Make a list of all the positive aspects about going back to school

Make a list of all the exciting things that the school year will be bringing: seeing friends again, meeting new students, participating in fun school activities.

Tip: You can put the list up on a board so that they can be reminded each time they walk by the board. These really cool magnetic boards stick to your refrigerator. There´s no way you´re going to lose your list this way

3. Talk with your kids about their back to school anxiety and fears

Talk about the issues they may be worrying about (new teachers, being assigned a new class different from their friends’). Discuss what can be done about it and what are the positive sides to it:

-the new teacher may be really nice and fun to work with

-the possibility to make even more friends

-the fact that you can still meet old friends during playtime or play dates

Empathize with them. It is normal to feel a bit nervous before you go back to school They may like to hear how Mr.Fish recalls his first day of school.

4. Let kids be part of the back to school preparation

Let the kids participate in the back to school preparation: show them the new books, let them help choose new clothes and school supplies,  brainstorm new lunchbox ideas.

5. Plan fun family activities for the after-holiday period

The end of the holidays needn’t mean the end of the fun. Pack the first weekends with plenty of fun activities. In our case, we move from the northern hemisphere summer back to the winter in New Zealand. We will switch from beach activities into indoors swimming pool (hydro slide and artificial waves!! So fun!), trampolines and bowling. I bet the kids will have an awesome time.

6. Plan after school fun activities

Discuss fun activities they could enrol in (sports, music class, dance lessons, arts & crafts workshop)

7. Get them a back-to-school surprise gift

Surprise them with a cute gift surprise. It doesn´t need to be a big gift, just something that your kid will be eager to bring or wear on the first day back to school,  like a back-to-school notebook or a mega-cute lunch box.

8. Be a role model

Show them your positive attitude towards the new season. If you feel anxious, worried or tense, it will be difficult to convey how great things will be.

Are you feeling better equipped to help your kids enjoy a happy first day of school?

-More reading for parents:

Coping Skills and Anger Management

Special Needs Parenting

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