Isn’t it so hard to believe that it’s back to school season already? I feel as though my kids just started summer break. This summer was filled to the brim with swim team and lots of individual trips – camp, scouts, activities – and it never felt like a typical summer. I think we’re all looking forward to the new school year.
Back-to-school is easier in some respects now that they are in middle school, high school and college. Transitioning to a new school year – and often a new school – is a big deal, and despite the fact that we’ve got a number of “first days” under our belt, we still need to prepare, both mentally and physically.
One way to get older kids ready for a new school year is to sit them down for a back to school talk. I believe it’s just as important as the back to school shopping trip for new school supplies.
As your kids get older, you may wonder what you should include in this back to school talk. Here are some of my suggestions and some topics we touch on.
Talk about the routine
I know every parent out there has this talk with their child when back to school rolls around. The routine talk is kind of a wake-up call for the whole house. No more staying up late and sleeping in; it’s time to get back into the school routine. We chat about what new things we’ll be adding to the schedule – not only do we have early wake up for school , but we’ve got fall sports that start practicing after school. It’s good to sit down with a calendar and map out who needs to be where when, and how we can be ready, as a family and individually, for the demands on our time.
I’m blessed to have fairly responsible kids, but even the most responsible kids need a little back to school chat. Talk to your kids about their responsibilities while they are in school as well as responsibilities that they’ll need to take care of at home. Maybe touch on what you expect from them and what their school may be expecting from them. Don’t forget that even if your kids shows signs of being mature, they still need a reminder from time to time.
Talk to your kids about empathy
When your children head back to school this year, remind them that the world is a little different than their household. Children in their school come from all different backgrounds. Empathy is such an important concept to talk about with your kids, especially as they head back to school. Remind your kids that they may come into contact with kids who are sad, happy, or even dealing with problems they don’t want to talk about. Showing kindness and understanding is one way your child can reach out to another student who may be struggling. Teaching your child emotional intelligence at a young age is a great gift you can pass along.
Always think twice
Raise your hand if you’re an adult who could use this reminder. I always talk to my kids about making good decisions as back to school season rolls around. I still struggle with thinking twice before making a decision, so I know my teenagers are going to struggle with it as well. Sometimes when you’re in a hurry or preoccupied, it’s so easy to make a quick decision. I teach my kids that there are consequences to their actions. Heading back to school is a good time to remind them of this.
Be a good friend
Last, but not least, a topic that is discussed in our back to school talk is how to be a good friend and why that’s important. Be a good person in general. Don’t laugh at people, don’t make fun of people, and try to help when and where you can. One of the most simple tips is also one of the most profound – simply be the kind of friend that you want to have.
I also keep in mind that my kids are always watching me. They expect me to be a great role model to them in all of these aspects (and more). So this list of tips is as much for me as it is for you and your kids.
This year is a particularly special (and perhaps difficult) back-to-school season for us. My youngest son, my baby, is starting his first year of middle school. It’s always especially tough to start a new school year at a new school with a bunch of people you don’t already know. This video from Kleenex® really tugged at my heartstrings.
Kleenex® can equip parents and students with the one important school supply this back to school season — empathy. I can’t tell you how many times I have personally been helped and lifted simply by knowing that I wasn’t alone – that there were others who were going through the same fears or struggles as me. Think of how much power our kids could have if they all started the school off with less fear and more empathy towards others!
Kleenex® brand sponsored a social experiment and workshop with new middle school students to help kids face the challenges of a new school year. The social experiment and workshop was led by Lori Nathanson, PhD, and Shauna Tominey, PhD, researchers at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, and focused on the power of emotions to create a more effective and compassionate society.
This is part of the Kleenex® “Someone Needs One” program, where they have challenged people to be more aware of overlooked, everyday opportunities to show that they care.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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