Back to School Blues - Finding Motivation After Summer Ends
You know the feeling: it is the last night of summer. The sun is slowly setting. You realize school starts in less than 12 hours. You try to stretch out that last bit of daylight. Soon, it’s gone. Dread sets in - summer is over.
Don’t worry! You aren’t alone. Students, parents, and teachers may all feel a sense of sadness as summer ends and the new school year begins.
These feelings may quickly pass. However, for some, they linger. The sinking feeling doesn’t fade. You try to grab ahold of something, anything to motivate you.
The back to school time is stressful. It’s a change (sometimes a lot of change!). It’s buying school supplies and navigating chaotic stores full of stressed parents and their excitable children. It’s worrying about how your children will cope in this new school year. It’s a complete overhaul of your and your family’s routine.
It catches us off-guard, even when we know it is coming.
But, you can prepare for it. Even with this change of pace, you can regain your motivation and push through it. No need for sadness! Change is good for you, and you better start believing it. Embrace it. That’s what life is all about.
How Can You Beat Those Back to School Blues?
According to the American Psychology Association, children are fairly good when it comes to coping with change. It’s similar to when they fall, they bounce back.
As a parent, you can help your children further build resilience and perseverance when it comes to change. You can teach them proper mental health care. In turn, you are setting them up for success later on in life.
While there is still time, here are a few tactics you can implement to avoid those post-summer blues and amp up your motivation!
1. Get Into the Routine Before School Starts
A hit to your sleep routine may be half the problem. When your sleep quality declines, so does your ability to think clearly. You might start stressing about things that you don’t need to stress about - the same goes for your kids!
The sudden flip to getting up much earlier may lead to a sudden rise in stress and tension levels in your household. Take the right mental health precautions. Incrementally adjust your family’s sleep routine. Plan ahead - what will you pack for lunches? What is easy and healthy for breakfast? How long will all these things take in the morning?
Planning ahead and switching your routine up ahead of time can lower anxiety and stress. It will also help you sleep the night before that first day. Plus, practice makes perfect.
If you have the opportunity, check out the school ahead of time - especially if you or your child is attending a new school. Those open houses or orientations before school starts? Take advantage of them. Meet the teachers. See where you will be spending most of your time in the next 8-10 months. Give yourself that peace of mind.
2. Talk to Your Family
Create open lines of communication in your family unit. Keep your loved ones updated on your schooling so that they’ll understand your emotions and behaviours better.
If you’re a parent, ask your children what they are looking forward to and what they aren’t looking forward to for the upcoming school season. If these conversations feel like talking to a brick wall, try opening up to your kids first. Explain your school experience or a time you felt worried or anxious about a change.
Find positives. Don’t beat down worries or fears. Nerves are normal. Acknowledge them in yourself and show you understand them in others. Then, work together to overcome them.
Younger children may experience anxiety over leaving their parent. Reassure them. Recognize these barriers before the first day of school. Talking about them can help you and your children move forward with confidence.
Continue this openness. Promote it and encourage it. Make sure your kids know they can turn to you with their problems and feelings. Ensure them that you will work with them to get through it.
3. Complete the Back to School Shopping Early
Most people dread back to school shopping. The chaos. The disorganized parking lot. All the carts. The line-ups. It’s not exactly a picturesque sight.
Do your back to school shopping as early as you can. Don’t delay it until the day before school starts.
In fact, sit down right now. If you’re shopping for your little ones, get them involved. Maybe teach them a thing or two about budgeting. What is your budget? What are your priorities? Aim for listing the practical things first, and with the leftover budget, buy that new shirt or outfit for the first day of school.
Get your shopping done before the stores start advertising. Check it off your to-do list. You’ll feel productive and ready knowing you and your family are set for the new school year.
4. Make the Last Week of Summer Fun
Say yes to squeezing in your shopping before those last few days. And say yes to still squeezing every last bit of fun out of summer that you and your family can.
Again, sit down as a family or discuss it over dinner. Brainstorm - what haven’t you done that you want to before summer ends? Plan a family bike day. Organize a picnic. Do those tourist activities in your own town. Have your kids been begging you to hit up that new waterpark? Do it!
You can also plan a fun activity for the night after the first day of school. Go for ice cream. Tell your kids to invite a friend over for a make-your-own-pizza night.
Make sure you or your kids have tons to look forward to. The fall is fast approaching. Maybe plan a few activities that will excite you while and calming the nerves (hello, Halloween, fall colours, and Thanksgiving!).
5. Get Involved at School or in Your Community
If you are a stay-at-home parent, the first day of school can be tough (hey - even if you aren’t, it can be!). You have spent the entire summer with your children. It’s hard to let them go. Maybe it is your child’s first year in school. It’s their first time away from you or other family members for longer than a few hours. You are bound to worry about them. It’s normal.
Many schools offer volunteer library positions. If you and your child are nervous about the transition, offering a helping hand in this regard may help ease you both into it.
Another way to take your mind off of the stress and get involved? Look into community activities or extracurricular activities with the school. Meet other parents and get to know them. Again, it can also help you get a feel for where your child spends their time, alleviating your worries and stress.
The summer fun does not have to end just because summer is over. Ride that wave. Take your summer motivation and let it guide you into the fall and through this flip in routine.
Prepare yourself and your family early on to tackle the upcoming school season. Thwart those back to school blues and find strategies for proper mental health care. Throw in activities for your family to look forward to, even after summer is over. Encourage open communication in your family unit.
And most important of all, don’t let change scare you! Instead, open yourself up to change. It’s constant. Get used to it and embrace it.