While a new school year is bound to create lots of anticipation for Oklahoma students and their parents, it also is likely everyone is a little nervous, too.
The good news is it is normal for both parents and students to experience some anxiety.
“It doesn’t matter if your children are returning to the same school, setting foot in a new one or moving to a new grade level, a few jitters are natural,” said Laura Hubbs-Tait, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension parenting specialist. “Starting a new school year can be exciting as well as stressful for students and their parents.”
There are lots of positive ways to deal with any potential new-school-year jitters.
For starters, establishing the right attitude goes a long way. More specifically, parents who try to project the right attitude help set the tone for the upcoming year.
“There’s a good chance parents are just as anxious as their children about the start of a new school year, but if children pick up on that nervousness it can add to their hesitation and reluctance,” Hubbs-Tait said.
For reassurance, parents can reach out to friends, other family members or even a professional counselor to talk through any concerns.
“The goal for parents is to be in the right frame of mind to support their children and give them the best possible start to a new school year,” Hubbs-Tait said. “Some ways parents can show a good attitude include offering general encouragement, speaking positively about classes and teachers and encouraging children to get involved with extracurricular activities.
Establishing routines such as starting the day with a healthy breakfast and setting aside a regular time for homework also can help counter children’s anxiety.
“School-aged children should be well used to bedtime routines such as bathing, brushing teeth and reading a story. It is also important for parents to become accustomed to talking with children about assignments, grades and what’s happening in the classroom,” Hubbs-Tait said. “If these routines haven’t been established yet or they’ve been interrupted by summer activities, the start of the school year is an opportune time to create or resume these positive habits.”
Finally, it is important that families regularly take the time to share the day’s events and activities with each other.
“This gives children a chance to talk about what they’re learning, their friends and classmates, any problems they’re facing and how they’re feeling about school,” Hubbs-Tait said. “For example, if it fits in your family’s schedule, dinner is a great time talk. Best of all, research shows that families who eat meals together have children who are both mentally and physically healthier.”
Story by Leilana McKindra