A Parent’s Back to School Guide

How to Support Your Child Through the School Year Transition

At this point, your child is a few weeks into the school year. Routines have been established and the first few days of class introductions have turned to days of learning. The “newness” of the school year is beginning to wear off as friend groups solidify and extracurriculars are underway.

As routine begins, however, now is the time to check in on your child. The toughest part of transitions is at the point where the novelty wears off; right now is when change becomes the most uncomfortable. And those 7+ hours spent at school may be impacting your child more than they’re letting on. So how can you best support your child? Below are some indicators to pay attention to and how you can best be there for them:

Pay Attention to
their Mood

Notice how or if your child’s mood changes before and after school. Are they excited to go or dreading it? Do they come home full of energy or reserved and quiet? While every child is different, these are important factors to take note of. If you notice differences in your child’s mood, you can then begin to be curious as to why.

Ask Questions

While many parents are met with one word answers: “How was school?” “Fine”; “Did you have a good day?” “Yep,” it’s important to consistently check in. And to avoid the one word answers above, try asking more open ended questions: “what did you learn today?” or “What was the hardest part about today?” Consistently asking questions like this not only gives you insight into their day but opens up a line of communication should a problem ever arise. If they know you’re there and you care, they’ll feel comfortable to share.

Create Balance

With the busyness our culture instills, it’s easy for families to get lost in school, work and extracurriculars. What often gets left behind is time for self care. To the best of your ability, it’s important to balance your child’s homework, social and extracurricular calendar with some time to decompress. This can look like giving them an hour before bed to unwind or carving out a day of the week with no plans. This time is crucial in protecting your child’s mental well being.

Quality Time

Again, it can be easy to get lost in the chaos of our schedules. One way to ensure your child has a place they feel grounded is to prioritize quality time with them. Even if this looks like driving them from school to practice, utilize this time to connect. Their connection with you can be a safe place, especially as heightened emotions, insecurities and stresses of school come to the surface.

Many kids experience a spike in anxiety and depression towards the beginning of the school year. The transition is intense for kids as they’re exposed to a larger school work load, heightened social pressures and ever-changing environments. Know that if your child is experiencing the difficulty of this transition, it’s completely normal – and you’re not alone! 

Decade2Connect is available to support you and your child as you navigate through these new and scary emotions. Utilize the community resources available as you and your child navigate this transition together.

Our Intensive Outpatient Program is in-network with United!