It's official: the summer is coming to an end. For parents, it's bittersweet. There's always something a bit sad about saying goodbye to lazy days on the beach and impromptu trips to the playground. And while moms and dads may not be students anymore, but they've still got plenty of school responsibilities: early wake-up calls, carpooling and classroom volunteering, not to mention the obligation to supply hours of free homework help. Of course, going back to school is even more of a mixed bag for kids. #FirstDayOfSchool Twitter memes offer a reminder of just how much the return to the classroom is a universal experience.
If it feels like summer flew by, that may be because the first day of school is creeping earlier in many districts across the country; according to CNN, over the last few decades, many states started trending away from beginning classes after Labor Day. A state's economy can play a major role in the date decision: tourism-heavy areas often let kids start in September. But in other parts of the country, kids may start as early as the first week of August. No matter when they go back to school, students aren't always thrilled:
There are definitely perks to the first day back:
But the minute the bell rings, reality sets in:
Of course, kids who aren't in school yet are celebrating:
And for college students, it's a whole different ballgame:
But whether they're putting kids on a school bus or moving them into a dorm room, most parents have a similar experience:
So what's the best way to handle the roller coaster of emotions the first day of school brings on? When a child is starting preschool or elementary school, the experience can be particularly challenging for both parent and student. Separation anxiety tips can make the transition easier, though. The first day definitely gets less fraught as kids get older, too, but many parents still have trouble getting kids excited about going back to school. It helps if you look for opportunities to make it fun and include kids in the decision-making, from going shopping to choosing extracurricular activities.
It's never delightful to say goodbye to months of total freedom, but parents and kids can work together to make back-to-school season a special occasion of its own. Bonus: moms and dads get to relive the excitement without any of the pressure, anxiety, and expectations:
And depending on your child's age, you now have two to eight hours daily (or even a couple days a week) that are all yours.