Whether you are starting in a new classroom, grade or school, it is normal to have some back-to-school jitters.
With more than 156,000 students returning to Peel District School Board schools on Sept. 3, the board is sharing some tips to support well-being and build resiliency for students, families and staff.
“Positive relationships are fundamental to the well-being and resiliency of children and ourselves,” says Valerie Anderson, psychologist and coordinator for staff and student wellbeing for the Peel board. “Spending quality time with loved ones and actively listening to their hopes and concerns will help them to manage the transition and provide a basis to enable them to cope with any stressors they will face. Connecting and building strong relationships with children’s educators and the school community is also a protective factor for health and academic outcomes.”
Ease back into healthy routines
Prepare for the transition to school by slowly easing back into regular school routines while focusing on healthy habits like keeping active, eating well, staying hydrated and getting enough sleep. Start your mornings off right by planning your breakfast routines in advance and getting to bed earlier. In the evenings, foster an attitude of gratitude by taking time to reflect on positive school experiences and appreciate things that are going well while planning for the next day.
Support and empower choices
Find ways to support independent decision-making and problem-solving in the back-to-school planning process. For example, parents/guardians of young children can let them pick out or organize their school supplies, select items for lunch, and choose when to have a practice ride or walk to their school. Older students can decide what extracurricular activities they might want to try or how they will organize their study schedule.
Parents/guardians can take time to reflect and make choices around joining activities to feel more connected at school. Parents/guardians are encouraged to review tip sheets on the board’s website, the board’s parent guide to high school and to explore other ways to get involved at their child’s school.
Build connections with others
Social relationships are key to resiliency. A familiar face can make all the difference when heading back to school. Refresh last year’s relationships before school starts by scheduling a play date, coffee with a neighbour or colleague, or connecting with your carpool. Strengthen family connections and wellness by spending quality time outdoors, enjoying nature and embracing the end of summer.
Make self-care a priority
Transitions of any kind are often stressful and come with a big “to do” list. Make wellness breaks a priority for children and adults. Take time to pause, breathe and have fun. Do something you really enjoy, even for a few moments.
Seek help when you need it
You don’t have to struggle alone. Parents/guardians worried about their child’s ability to cope should speak with their child’s teacher, principal or vice-principal, or family doctor. They can help build a support plan or refer other helpful wellness resources in Peel. Peel board staff can also find support through these resources and their Employee and Family Assistance Program.
The Peel board serves more than 156,000 students in kindergarten to grade 12. With 257 schools in Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga, the Peel board is committed to inspiring success, confidence and hope in each student.