Back to School: Helping kids cope

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HARTFORD -- With students heading back to class, Dr. Doug Haddad joined FOX 61 Good Day Connecticut with some tips to help make a smooth transition for all.

Biggest concerns that kids have about going back to school

  1. Getting back to school year routines - Getting out of the summer mode is oftentimes a challenge for kids. Getting back into a routine and reestablishing structure means setting the ground rules on bedtime, a regular place and time to do homework, time they can spend with friends, using electronics, etc. Ease the transition by invoking these routines at least one week prior to the start of school as it does take time for children to get adjusted and back to old routines. This will help a child develop good habits for the entire school year.
  2. Getting too much homework and knowing how to manage it - As students get into middle and certainly high school, the homework load significantly increases. Children, as well as parents, may be unaware of this, and children can be easily overwhelmed with all of the daily demands of homework, studying for quizzes and tests, and completing various projects. The solution is to get back to routines. I recommend getting them a wall calendar that they can themselves write down their weekly schedule so they can visualize what needs to be done and plan accordingly to accomplish those tasks. Having a quiet place to do homework at a consistent time, preferably in a place that you can see them doing homework so they know that you see them, is very important. Set limits on electronics use, especially cell phone, to prevent that from being a distraction, so they are able to complete homework in a time efficient, high quality manner.
  3. Not liking or having a very difficult teacher - As kids get older, they become more apprehensive about the amount of homework they are going to get, the grading policy, and how interesting it is going to be. It is important to have a conversation with a child about being respectful to all adult figures, despite whether they are your most adored or least adored teachers. Also, encourage your child to regularly participate in class discussion as that boosts the environment not only for yourself and other students, but also the teacher and can ignite the lesson.
  4. Wanting to fit in with others - Being socially accepted is of prime importance for children. School can be an anxious, if not painful, place for students who struggle to fit in and make friends. Most kids are concerned about fashion and what to wear. It is normal for kids to want to look cool and feel attractive and clothing plays a big role. Now, you may not be able to afford the most expensive designer clothes. However, establish an upfront budget with your child and go school shopping together. If your child insists on getting something beyond the budget, compromise by finding a way for them to earn it through doing chores around the house.