Unlike a lot of parents I talk to, I’m not overly excited come back to school time. I love summer, staying up late, mid-week outings, and most of all I just love spending time with my kids! I would have them home all the time if I could.
So when I see back to school advertising and supplies in early July I wince, and then walk by smiling knowing I have all the time in the world before I have to think about indoor shoes and pencil boxes.
As August comes I think of the far off prospect of school and start searching Amazon for backpacks for my kids knowing that I can deny the coming reality for a bit yet.
The end of August brings back to school supply shopping, which is by far the highlight for me. New pencil crayons, binders, paper, markers, honestly I could spend hours in Staples ;). Then comes the organizing and labeling everything, I love that part too! I’ve got issues…. I know ;)
Come September we are organized and ready to go. I’ve done all the groundwork. But this year some of that work started way back in June.
If you have a child who struggles with anxiety, like I do, the weeks leading up to the start of school can be particularly challenging. All the unknowns and what if’s of teachers and friends can cause anxiety levels to spike, which can lead to behavioral challenges, sleep issues, tummy aches and a spectrum of emotions.
What we did this year in an attempt to keep anxiety at bay, or at least make it tolerable was to actually do a bit of prep work in June before school ended. I’m not sure how possible this is in all cases but we were able to find out who my son’s teacher was going to be for the coming year and the classroom he would be in. We then met the teacher and I was able to take some photos of the classroom. His new teacher was even willing to have him come in prior to the start of school for another little reintroduction. How are amazing are teachers? Seriously! They are awesome!
Generalized anxiety disorder can be debilitating and has ruined entire summers for my son in the past. There would be this uncertainty about school that would rear its ugly head with increasing frequency as the summer went on and by the time we were a couple weeks away he would be experiencing regular episodes of panic, tears and late nights up worrying.
That little meeting in June was huge! Now I’m not saying that was the only thing that made the difference, see my blog post called; Summer Structure for an Anxious Child for some other strategies we used.
Meeting the teacher did so much to put that unknown element to rest and the photos of the classroom helped bring back that feeling of familiarity prior to the start of school. I never ended up having to contact the teacher before school started, as my son’s anxiety was by far in a way the best it has ever been at the start of a new school year.
So the first day and the first week has come and gone and I have two exhausted but excited kids. I on the other hand am ready for another summer vacation :). Seeing my children happy and excited to tackle another school year makes all the preparation and work worthwhile. For me, that’s what it’s all about. Even if it does mean back to making lunches and getting up early.
Hope you are having an amazing day :)