9 Ways to Help Your Child Beat the Back-to-School Blues

The end of summer can be a bummer for kids. Here's how you can help.

back to school blues
Does your child have the back-to-school blues? Here's how to help. iStockphoto

Does your child seem less than enthusiastic about the end of summer and the start of school? For many families--parents and kids alike--it can feel like the hustle and bustle of back-to-school time comes upon us all at once, just when we were settling into the lovely rhythm of slower days and leisurely family dinners followed by late sunsets. It can be a tough transition, to say the least.

If your school-age kid is unhappy about saying goodbye to summer and is bummed about going back to school, try these tips to help him get over his back-to-school blues:

  1. Plan a fun weekend activity to keep family time going. One of the things kids are sad about the most when back-to-school time rolls around is the fact that they won't have as much time to relax with mom and dad. To help kids ease into the transition to a busier schedule when school starts, parents can make sure they plan regular family dinners, especially on the weekends, when they have more time to relax and cook together and linger over dessert. And be sure to schedule family activities on the weekends, whether it's playing in the park, pulling out great board games, or even just snuggling together to read a good book.
  2. Talk about and plan fun fall activities. Remind kids about the wonderful fall activities you can do together, like go apple picking, look at leaves turning beautiful colors, or make fun Halloween crafts. And beyond that, there are the holidays and celebrations and winter activities to look forward to. Summers are of course wonderful, but fall and winter have lots to offer, too, and it's worth reminding kids what they have to look forward to in the coming months.
  1. Keep doing summer activities. While you're helping kids remember the fun things to come in fall and winter, try to extend summer activities your child enjoyed as long as possible. If she learned to ride a two-wheeler or to swim, for example, you can still take her for bike rides or find an indoor pool if the weather gets chilly. If she developed a love of reading, be sure to continue to encourage her love of books by reading right alongside her and by talking about the books she loves. And continue to find ways to relax together, even--and especially--when schedules get hectic and stress and anxiety threaten to creep in.
  1. Reconnect with friends from school that they may not have seen all summer. Your child may have good friends at school that he may not have seen all summer. For kids, especially younger school-age children, weeks and months can seem like an eternity when you haven't seen a friend, and they'll need time to remember how to connect with even a very close friend or classmate. To help your child get reacquainted with a school pal, get them together a few times for play dates before school starts.
  2. Arrange for play dates after school. Another great way to help your child reconnect with a friend she hasn't seen all summer is to arrange some play dates after school once school starts. This will give your child something to look forward to, and will help her feel more excited about going back to school and seeing other old friends as well. If your child is starting at a new school, try to find ways to help her make new friends while encouraging her to make new connections on her own at school.
  1. If your child is missing a summer friend, find ways that they can stay connected. Did your child make good friends at summer camp? Is he bummed about not seeing some great friends he met while on vacation? If your child is missing summer friends, arrange a get-together or a video call or help him send an email or a letter to stay connected with his summer pals.
  2. Get a new special item for school, whether it's a backpack or a special pencil case with colorful pencils and erasers. Sometimes, something as small as a new outfit or a special set of pens or a backpack can make kids more eager to go back to school. Find something that your child is excited about showing his friends--it could even be something he will be allowed to share in school, like photos of a cool place he visited or things he did in the summer--and help your child focus on that to make him look forward to going to school.
  3. Remember the importance of regular sleep schedules and good nutrition. Remember that kids' moods and mindsets can be significantly affected by how well they sleep and the foods they eat. Be sure they stick to a regular sleep routine and get enough shut-eye, and pay close attention to what they're eating (more whole fruits and vegetables, healthy proteins) and drinking (less sugar, lots of milk and water).
  4. Talk about the wonderful things she'll be doing in school like reading fun books with the teacher or working on cool projects and art with classmates. Remind your child about the things she loves about school, like school trips, fun arts and crafts projects, and school plays. If she loves books and math, talk about all the great things she'll be learning in the coming school year, and how exciting it will be to be a grade older and smarter in her new classroom.

Continue Reading