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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Askin

Back to School

As the summer season comes to an end and school goes back in session, the change brings a mix of excitement, anticipation, and anxiety. Whether you're a parent sending your child off to their first day of preschool, or a college student moving into a dorm that’s hours away from home, emotions are everywhere. The transition for all parents and students is both challenging and exhilarating every year.

Parents: Preparing for Success

This season brings an opportunity for parents to build a foundation for success while supporting their child’s journey.

Routine: Help your child set a consistent morning/bedtime routine, or offer ideas for them, as this helps individuals adjust to the school schedule and provide a sense of security. Also assist in time management, as if they get a routine going for that, they are headed even closer to a path for success.

Open Dialogue: Try to engage in conversations with your child about school, and address their comments and concerns with a positive attitude as an active listener. Support is shown well by keeping lines of communication open.

Positive Environment: In addition to your own self being a positive environment for your child to come to for support, it is important for students to be in a safe space at home. Whether that be creating a study spot, providing nutrient-rich foods, or limiting screen time for homework purposes, all can be essential to help your student grow. In addition to this, try to help your student balance their life with school, extracurricular activities, and fun. Helping them maintain a social life with friends is going to help with their happiness, and happiness/mental health is most important.

Preschool and Elementary School: Sending your young kid off to school, possibly for the first time, can be quite scary but exciting. Here’s a little reminder to cherish these days, take those “first day of school” pictures, and take advantage of the homework being easier to help out with!

Middle School: This is where you’re becoming a “big kid” and develop some independence. Parents, allow your middle school children to take charge of their schedule, homework, and other responsibilities, while of course continuing to be an active listener and a shoulder of support.

High School: High school is the time for learning more useful topics as well as college

preparation if that is in your child’s plan. These years will be busier but they can also be more fun! From football games and school spirit to a wider variety of classes, there is a lot for your student to get excited about every year.

Explore Interests: This is where you start figuring out what you want to do after high school, including what major you might want to have in college (if you are going). Join clubs, sports teams, clubs, or other programs to explore passions and see what you love doing. This also helps in becoming well-rounded with your time and skills!

Goal Setting: Set personal goals for yourself and create a plan to achieve these goals. Always move forward and make good choices!

Balance: With everything going on in high school and having a heavier workload, it can be hard to balance academics with everything. It’s okay to take a step back and need to prioritize aspects of your life instead of putting too much on your plate! Put your mental health forward and work on maintaining a healthy balance including self-care, academics, social life, and extracurriculars! This is where effective time management skills are essential.

College Preparation: If applicable, it’s time to begin talking about preparing for college. Explore options for schools and career paths, and give yourself enough time to prepare for standardized tests and college applications!

College: College can be the best years of your life where you really meet “your people.” You’re now embarking on the journey of higher education, which brings a lot of new responsibilities, experiences, and transformation. While it is often challenging to navigate through it without your parents, the inevitable increase in independence can be amazing. Whether you're an incoming freshman stepping onto a new campus for the first time, a returning student diving back into everything after a break, or a parent watching your child spread their wings, the college transition can be a crazy mix of emotions.

For Freshmen: Starting college can feel like traveling to a new world! It's normal to feel both excitement and anxiety with this huge change. Keep an open mind while you encounter new people, ideas, and challenges. Step out of your comfort zone when you can and have a growth mindset! Another way you can work on yourself - and college may naturally force you to do this - work on your time management skills! A calendar/planner may be a good place to start! Lastly, remember that you have a big support system! Colleges have many resources such as counselors and advisors, and so don’t hesitate to use them!

For Returning Students: Coming back to college can still be a big adjustment like it was when you first came there as a freshman. It’s natural to need some time to get back into the swing of things. Tap into the good skills and routines you developed in the past, and try to make them

even better! You can get back to your prior extracurricular activities as well, or even try something new! With that, you can reconnect with friends you haven’t seen and also meet more!

Just as a parent might say, “have fun and make good choices!”

For Parents: This is a rewarding experience to see your child go to college and truly be an adult on their own. It’s understandable to have a mix of emotions, just like they are. Remember that you both are going through this together, even if they are hours away. Open communication is crucial and helpful for them, even if you aren’t talking every day. Understand that college students are entering a world of increased independence, and they need some space to learn on their own now. However, when they need support, it’s great for them to have you as a shoulder to lean on, and someone to guide them!

Life outside of college: Lastly, for those who choose a path other than college, such as trade school, the workforce, or they have finished schooling, this is really where independence shines. This is a great time to get to know yourself and get straight into what you want to do. It can be hard to miss your friends that are going in different directions, so make an effort to meet people where you are now! Enjoy the independence while remembering that you still have a support system!

For extra support, call us today at (540) 347-3797

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