The first day of school is often stressful for families but taking a few simple steps the weekend before may help curtail the back-to-school blues.
Classes start Monday, July 31 for about 31,000 students enrolled in Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), which is the largest in the state with about 5,000 employees and covers about 50 square miles.
Lela Simmons, the district’s chief learning officer, believes individuals may alleviate anxiety associated with the start of a new school year.
“For some students, returning to school may feel like heading into the unknown, and its normal to be unsure when starting a new grade, a new class, or a new school,” Simmons said. “I’d suggest that when our students encounter these feelings, they should turn to friends and family to share feelings. You will find how common all these fears really are.”
Here are a few tips to start the school year:
- Create a back-to-school plan: Prepare everything the night before, from school supplies to lunch boxes.
- Set the alarm clock 15 minutes early: Give yourselves extra time in the morning to ensure a relaxed and unhurried start to the day.
- Eat breakfast: Fuel the family with a nutritious breakfast to keep everyone energized throughout the day.
- Create a happy preschool atmosphere: Start the weekend off by creating a positive atmosphere, discussing exciting aspects of the new school year.
- Share your feelings: Encourage open communication and listen to any concerns or excitement family members may have about the first day.
- Creating memories Capture the special moment with a first day of school photo.
- Create an after-school routine: Be consistent that allow time for homework, play, and family bonding.
- Celebrate every win—both big and small: Take time to celebrate the accomplishments and milestones students achieve.
- Be early: Reduce anxiety by being early for drop-off and pickup.
- Remember to spend time as a family: After the first day (and if possible, the conclusion of the first week) create a special celebration time for the family, discussing the day’s events and offering support for any challenges encountered.
“We should remember that change may create feelings of being uncomfortable and anxiety,” Simmons said. “These feelings should quickly subside after meeting teachers, seeing friends, and becoming familiar with the environment.”