Depending on the school district, the 2022-2023 academic year may have just started while some won’t start for another few weeks. A new school year is a fresh start, allowing children to excel academically, try new extracurriculars, and make new friends.
Some children are excited for a new school year while others dread the first day of the school year. Whether they’re adjusting to a lifestyle change (parents divorcing, moving, health concerns, etc.) or are having a hard time finding themselves, there are some things we can do as parents to help them adjust. Continue reading as we discuss how to make this school year easier for your kids so they can have a great year whether they attend public or private school!
Listen to Their Concerns
Think back to when you were a kid. Were you excited for school to start, or did you dread it? You can probably remember that butterflies in your stomach feeling as you walked into your new classroom and saw your new classmates. Any child can experience a plethora of emotions as they navigate their way through a new school year.
Take a few minutes to listen to your child’s concerns periodically throughout the year. Children feel more comforted if a parent simply listens and offers advice on how to navigate the school year. Whether your child is nervous, excited, or sad, be a support system for them by listening to their concerns and offering advice or wise words to help them feel more secure.
Keep the Routine
All summer long, children may have stayed up way past their school year bedtime and slept in way past their school alarm – we can’t blame them. While summer is a time for fun and games, the school year is a time to buckle down and get back into a routine so your child or children can feel well rested each day. If your child has started school already, keep their wake and sleep times consistent each school day. Don’t allow them to sleep in to delay getting ready for school or stay up later because they wish to. Keeping a routine for your child starts with you enforcing it and being consistent with it.
Children who have parents going through a divorce are more likely to get thrown out of their routines which can cause poor grades, lack of sleep, and general anxiety. If your child stays with you or your former spouse all week or switches mid-week, keep their routine. Having two homes where things are most likely very different can be stressful for a child, more so if they lack routine. Keep wake times, bedtimes, and meal times the same at your home and your co-parent’s home. It’ll make their transition much smoother as they navigate a new school year and the divorce.
Schedule a Playdate with a Classmate
It can be a little intimidating when you first walk into a new classroom with a new teacher and new classmates with whom you aren’t familiar. Even if your child recognizes a few familiar faces, they most likely won’t know every one of their peers. If your child is in preschool or elementary, schedule a playdate with one of their classmates to help them feel more comfortable in their new classroom.
Most teachers will send a roster with contact information for the other parents of students in the same class, so take advantage of that information. If there’s a name your child recognizes, great! If they don’t know anyone, choose some names at random and contact the parents to schedule a playdate. Children feel less anxious when they see familiar faces, so letting them form a bond with a new classmate before school starts can be all the comfort they need.
Eat Together Every Night
Eating together every night goes hand-in-hand with keeping their routines the same, but we can’t stress enough the importance of eating dinner together as a family. Whether it’s just you and the kids or you’ve started dating someone new, or other family members live with you, eating together is a great way to connect. The conversation that flows during mealtime allows your child to share their concerns or excitement about the school year while you focus on them without any distractions. Take it a step further and make a rule where no cellphones are allowed at the dinner table. You’ll find yourself looking forward to these nightly dinners with your family as you all navigate busy and jampacked schedules each day.
Get Your Child Involved in an Extracurricular Activity
Does your child enjoy sports? Do they enjoy STEM-based learning? Whatever their interests are, their school most likely has an extracurricular activity they’ll enjoy. Getting them involved in something after school is a great way to make more friends and spend extra time doing something they love like playing basketball, cheerleading, being in chess club, etc. While they don’t need to be involved in many extracurriculars, choose at least one for them to join. You can sit down together to discuss their interests and sign them up for one or multiple sports, clubs, or other interests.
Children whose parents are going through or have recently divorced are more likely to have a tougher school year than their counterparts. Their education can be impacted by several things during the divorce process like court dates, moving or changing schools, adjusting to living with one parent versus two, etc. Teens may struggle more than younger children which is why it’s important to follow the tips above to help them feel more comfortable taking on the school year and staying on track.
If you are a parent and are going through the divorce process and are looking for a family law attorney in Kansas (in and around the Leawood area) or a family law attorney in Kansas City and the surrounding area, The Law Office of Young, Kuhl & Frick, LLC can help. We’re dedicated to the practice of family law and can help guide you through any family law matter, keeping your best interests in mind. With over fifty-four years of combined legal experience, our family law firm is comprised of a team that’s skilled in both negotiation and litigation, handling family law matters from the most complex to the most straightforward.
We have offices in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and Leawood, Kansas (consultations by appointment only). In addition to our two physical locations, our firm’s family and divorce attorneys have practiced in Jackson, Clay, Cass, Lafayette, Platte County, Missouri, and Johnson County, Kansas. Contact our family law firm today to schedule a consultation – we can meet in person or face-to-face via Zoom.