(The Daily Dish) Rebecca Dutson, President and CEO of The Children’s Center Utah joined us today to talk about the importance of routines and schedules in their daily life.

It’s no secret that when children head back to school, it can impact the entire family – from parents to the students themselves, to the children who are still at home and not yet in school. Returning to routines and rules of school and home can be a huge shift causing added stress and anxiety and often taking that time from enjoyable family time after the summer break to chaos.

According to the CDC, it’s known that transitions can be hard for most children and families and in addition, children who are easily worried may need additional time to adjust.

A few items that family and children may need help with:

  • Establishing sleep/homework routine.
  • Navigating school rules and routines.
  • Managing new anxieties associated with routine.

It’s like the backpacks children have to carry.

In addition to the physical items they have to carry, imagine as physical objects the feelings, stresses, responsibilities, expectations, experiences, and worries children may have had during this time.

Children who are entering the school year may also be bringing items from home that may interfere and administrators, teacher and staff can help to reduce the wariness of children by being able to recognize the responses and signs and become a critical support system.

They are bringing all of that with them.

For many students, this can become way too heavy for them to carry. We need to remember that many of our students will be returning to school with emotionally heavy backpacks. As a result, finding ways to build student connectedness and routine is going to be critical

You can add some things to their backpack to help with their back to school stress, like their favorite small toy or fidget spinner.

Simple ways you can support your children:

  • Establish school-day routines early (homework and bedtime). We need to do it now before school starts.
  • Practice your new routine in advance of the first day of school.
  • Call the school and find out what time their lunch is, particularly since they have been used to eating at different times.
  • Incorporate positive reinforcement. Tell them when they are doing well
  • Practice expectations
  • COMMUNICATE with your child, your child’s teachers, and school. Listen and acknowledge their fears.
    • Give them coping strategies for when they are afraid

If you would like additional resources you can visit The Children’s Center Utah website.

*Sponsored by The Utah Department of Health and Human Services.