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Back to school season is back, mamas! And so is the mad rush to prepare our kids for a new school year amid an ongoing pandemic. From shopping for school supplies to attending school meet and greets, we are busy bees. Additionally, our kids depend on us to help them transition to a new grade, a new class, and a new slew of academic lessons and social experiences. This may feel overwhelming for your children, especially after a year of remote learning, pandemic-related grief and anxiety, and non-stop change. As parents, we need to be their rock, preparing them for what’s to come this back to school season in whatever way we can. It begins with learning and implementing strategies to mentally and emotionally prepare our kids. Mara Sammartino, LCSW, suggests starting by including your kids in the back-to-school prep. For example, they can choose their back-to-school outfits or help with packing up their lunch. “This helps foster communication but also inclusion which boosts self-esteem and confidence,” Sammartino tells HipLatina.
To add to the excitement and ease their nerves, you can also do fun back-to-school activities. For my 5-year-old son, I created a back-to-school countdown chain out of construction paper. Every day he pulls off one of the “chains” and feels much more at ease with starting a new school year. As for the first day of school, according to Dr. Susana Marquez, LMRT and founder of Heal and Grow Therapy, “it helps to give kids a security item that reminds them of a parent.” This can be a small keychain that they keep in their pocket or backpack. This is especially helpful for younger kids that struggle with school drop off due to separation anxiety. For older kids, an extra sweet and reassuring touch suggested by Marquez is to add notes inside their lunch-box. These notes can “provide encouragement or the promise of fun activities after school.”