Getting your kids ready for the first day of school

Published: Aug. 2, 2016 at 6:29 AM EDT
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Going back to school can be a stressful one, but there are ways to help reduce the anxiety and have a little fun. The owner of Sylvan Learning Center in Mishawaka says it all starts with sleep.

“Start getting your kids up a little earlier each day. So, by the time school is ready to go they are okay getting up by 7 a.m. and getting ready for school. They are not tired,” says Kent Kolbow.

It’s a great time for a refresher course in all subjects too.

“Gaining momentum going into the school year is number one. The first two to three weeks of school are review anyway. So, if you can get ahead of the game, by the time school starts, you are ready to go,” adds Kolbow.

Sylvan offers free online apps you can use to get your child’s brain out of summer mode.

The closer you get to the first day of school, the more you have to communicate.

“You just want to have a conversation with them initially and ask, ‘Do you have any worries? What are you excited about?’ And you really want to highlight what they are excited about. Then, you really want to empathize with the worries,” says Dr. Erin Leonard who is a Psychotherapist.

Dr. Leonard says it is normal for your child to have jitters and it is important to let them know that.

“Then, the child knows that if anything happens that there is an open door and they can go to you and talk and that is really, really important,” Dr. Leonard adds.

As a parent, it is also nice to have a developmental perspective too.

“For example, a child in middle school will be focused on fitting in and really focused on their friendships and those sorts of things. A child in high school will be concerned about who are they, who are they in relationship to the world, where do they fit in and are they good enough. Younger children, children in the earlier grades, they usually are concerned about, will my teacher like me? Is it going to be too hard? Those sorts of things,” Explains Dr. Leonard.

She says it is a lot easier to empathize with those worries because you know developmentally they are appropriate.

Don't forget about organization.

“The night before, make sure everything is organized. The backpack is ready to go so when the next morning starts they are not running around looking all over for everything. Also, make sure you have a good breakfast. That is really important,” says Kolbow.

As a parent, your job doesn't stop at the first day of school. These experts say communication with your child's teacher through the school year is important too.

“That is always a good idea so you can catch things and nip them in the bud before they spiral out of control,” says Dr. Leonard.

“Don't wait three or four months if they are starting to fall behind to get help. Get help right from the beginning. If they are a week behind, hey, this is the time to get started,” adds Kolbow.

If you child does fall behind, you may want to check out the

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