2021 is the year we collectively hope we can get back to ‘normal’, and for our teenagers that means SCHOOL. Some teens will be happy to head back to school – hooray – while others may take a while to warm up to the whole idea. Either reaction is okay, just make sure you’ve got the basics covered.
Begin readjusting bed times at least a week prior to school starting so an earlier bedtime is the new norm, not an extra thing to adjust to. Help your teenager to embrace good sleep routines by talking through, or reminding them about:
- Winding down prior to bedtime
- Following a sleep routine that works for them
- Going to sleep at the same time
- Getting enough deep sleep
- Sleeping phone free
Enrol your teenagers into fun school lunches that meet their nutritional needs while studying. Get them to do some online research for quick, healthy lunches and snazzy lunch boxes.
Arrange to catch up in person with friends before school starts so they’re feeling like they already belong before they even arrive in the school gates. This tip is especially important if your teenager has any anxiety around school. Good friends will get them in the gate.
Get your teenagers to organise and help with a back to school shop. A new pencil case and some glittery stationery chosen by them can work wonders. Order new uniform items to replace anything that’s too small or too tatty.
Spend some time talking through any concerns your teenagers may have about school. Take the time to really listen to their worries and encourage them to come up with solutions themselves instead of taking the temptingly quick fix of telling them what you’d do. Start a useful chat by asking “What do you think you could do about that?” and accept all ideas to start – even the ridiculous – until you can come up with a way around their problem that works for everyone.
On the day verbalise everything going well, out loud. It might sound something like this “You’re meeting (insert name of friend) and you’ll be able to sit with them for assembly. Then it’s English, followed by Maths. Remember you’ve got a delicious morning tea with a few extra biscuits to share. Enjoy drama, I know you like that. And after lunch there’s Geography and PE. You look so sporty in your new PE gear. Have a great day. I’ll meet you at … and we’ll go walk the dog before dinner. Ooh yum, it’s tacos tonight. Love you. Bye.”
Then disappear and let them get on with the job of going to school. Lingering is just going to embarrass them.
Make sure you catch up after the first day to hear their thoughts about school this year. Again, just listen and be ready to receive their comments without judgement. Accepting all thoughts neutrally makes you a safe person for them to talk with.
If you’d like to talk through supporting your teens, book a time for a virtual cuppa with me. I’m always happy to offer a listening ear.
And enjoy back to school time!
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