With the end of January here, it’s a time to settle nerves and the kids into a new school and new school year. You’ve got those books covered in Contact, picked up a new lunch box from Kmart, bought a larger-sized uniform to grow into and replaced those scuffed shoes. Along with the new backpack and pencil case comes new concerns and fears. Especially starting a new school. Thoughts whirr in kids’ minds like:
“What will everyone think of me?”
“Will anyone talk to me?”
“How will I find my way around the school grounds?”
“What if I can’t do the work or keep up with the workload?”
Here are my 6 tips for coping with the first day and week of the new school year. Be sure to share them with your teen and let them know they’re never alone.
- Be ready physically. 💪🏻
If you’ve got your uniform, sports gear, lunch packed and books ready, you’ll feel surer in yourself. The more you can control, the less overwhelmed you’ll feel. So actually, seeing those items in front of you, makes you feel like there’s order and you’re ticking those boxes. Bag packed – ✔️ Uniform laid out – ✔️ Lunch in the fridge – ✔️ The more you get done, the more OK you’ll feel on day #1.
- Get ready emotionally. 🤔
Find some words or phrases to stick on your mirror that make you feel good, that say how you want to feel and that inspire you. While you’re cleaning your teeth or brushing your hair each morning and night, be sure to read your mantras and embed them so you’ll be calmer and more confident about how you’ll go to sleep and wake up feeling, ready to take on any challenge.
- Smile 😃
Walk into school with the look on your face that you want to see reflected back at you. We’re all mirrors to each other’s emotions, so if you frown, people will frown back and if you smile, guess what? people will smile back too. Also don’t assume you’re alone. Pretty much everyone else on day #1 is as scared or unsure as you are. So, be brave and go up to someone who looks like you feel inside and say “Hi! My name’s…, what’s yours?” That person could be your new best friend!
- Create new friendships. 👩🏻🤝👩🏼
Take some time to look around you to watch and listen to what others are doing or saying. You’ll be able to get an idea of what their values are by watching and listening to how they treat and talk to others. This can help you identify like-minded people to join their group or bring into your circle. You may not share all the same interests, but values go a long way to acknowledging how you want to behave and what are good value judgements. After a week or so, get out of your comfort zone and identify someone you’d like to spend some time with. Check on their weekend plans, suggest they come over to your place to work on a project, go shopping or see a movie. Having an action plan is better than waiting for new friends to find you and self-doubting in the process.
- Keep up with your workload. 📚
Managing your time, your schoolwork as well as other expectations; chores, sports, dance, family time, birthday parties and ‘you’ time means keeping on top of your homework. Schedule your time early in the week to get those tasks done and enlist the help of all your family if you struggle with time management. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from teachers, peers or family members (or a life coach!). It’s a strength. Ask people to hold you accountable to get things done in a certain time too, so you can still have time to do the fun stuff! Don’t procrastinate!
- Feel good about who you are. ☺️
Your identity is who you are and who you are yet to be. You may not be clear yet on who that is and it’s often necessary to conform to fit in. Chasing the ‘popular girls’ or the ‘it-crowd’ can feel like you’re ‘in’ but there are trade-offs; peer-pressure which will challenge your values and being mean to other people, which won’t make you feel great at the end of the day. Creating your identity takes years and understanding how to be authentic and true to what you believe takes some half a lifetime!
Starting this type of self-awareness early, being supported by role models, learning strategies to stand up for what you believe, being resilient in tough times and knowing your unique self is perfect as it is, will help you become an amazing adult.
Day #1 is big and new. Day #2 will be less big and less new. By Day #5 hopefully you’ll be feeling a lot more in control.
Parents, ultimately, I’m sure what you want is to help build your child’s confidence, so they can feel good within themselves to walk in through those gates, speak to new people and develop an inner strength to handle rejection, teasing or an argument with a friend, as well as just the everyday pressures of growing up.
If your child needs some extra help and support at the start of their new school year, why not contact me for a free Discovery Call to see how we can work together. With a teen life coach, your child can grow to become their best SELF!
Helping the adults of tomorrow become their best SELF today!