Six Ways to Help Your Child Transition into a New School Year

Going back to school is an exciting time for children. School clothes shopping, picking out school supplies, and a new teacher can be almost as wondrous as Christmas. But sometimes, going back to school can be frightful. Anxiety, stress, and fear mount.

"Will the teacher be nice or will he yell? Will I have friends? Where will I sit? What if I don't understand something? What if..."

Back to school transitions can be difficult, scary, and stressful for a lot of students, especially if they suffer from learning disabilities.

Following are six tips I've put together to help your child make a smooth transition into the new school year:

1. Keep routines the same. Don't add anything new or different onto your child's plate right now. Also, a couple weeks before school starts, tighten up the routine so it is more predictable than "loose" summer schedule. 2. Don't pressure your child about grades or performance. This only causes undo stress and most likely won't help improve grades, anyway. 3. Keep the lines of communication open. Your child might want to talk about his/her fears, so be open to listening to any problems or concerns. Brainstorm solutions together. 4. Volunteer or stay involved in your child's schooling. A familiar face while you're helping out in school can dilute your child's fears and anxieties.

5. Be firm if your child acts out with clear consequences for unacceptable behavior. Believe it or not, children want behavioral guidelines and feel more secure when they have consistent behavioral expectations.

6. Watch how much time your child is spending on homework. Often, kids get overwhelmed those first few weeks of school due to unusual amounts of homework, and they shut down. Talk to your child's teacher to see if you can get the amount of homework altered. Going back to school should carry wonder and awe, not fear and pressure. A few simple changes can help your child have a smooth transition.

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