It’s hard to believe the summer is coming to an end. As we enter August we are bombarded with ads and reminders that school is about to resume, and what we need to do to prepare. But preparing for school is about more than buying new notebooks, backpacks and pencils. Just like any major adjustment in routine and setting, it is going to cause some stress, so helping our children prepare their minds and bodies for the new demands is key to a smooth transition. Here are some simple ways to help youth practice “self-care” and enter the new school year with confidence!
As youth function better with routines, start practicing your school year routines now, before school starts. You can bet that imposing a schedule when your child is still in “summer mode” can be a real challenge, so it’s better to start now! Begin to make evening meal times and bed times more routine. If the family has been scattered and eating out frequently this summer, begin to shift back to regular family dinner time. It is a proven fact that family meals help prevent high-risk behavior in teens, and encourage discipline and balance. They also make it easier to warm kids up to unpopular but important discussions, like an agreed-upon homework schedule and clear expectations for the school year. Having those conversations ahead of time allows young people to set their own goals as well, and “warm up” their executive functioning skills before the real work begins.
Above all else, frequent communication and conversation is more key than ever during the month of August. Keep kids close by, and invite them to share their concerns. Talk to your kids about smoking, drinking, drugs, and other risky behavior, and make sure they know that you are there to help them get back on track through good self-care and healthy choices, especially in times of stress. As a parent myself, I know that my ability to empower my child with a sense of self-confidence and a solid “game plan” going into the new school year helped us to have a successful and rewarding high school experience. Knowing you’ve got their back, your children will find it easier to say no to peer pressures and unhealthy choices.
Feeling overwhelmed by all this? Parents need support too!
Join us for our Back-to-School Workshop on August 5th. We’ll update you on the latest trends in risky behaviors such as drugs of abuse, and how to help your child respond to social and environmental pressure with more knowledge and confidence. This workshop will prepare you to partner effectively with your kids this upcoming year and ensure their health, safety and success!
President & CEO, The Council on Recovery