The summer, back-to-school sales started in early January. Sure enough, a familiar chorus echoes through many households: “We just finished school! Why do we have to go back so soon?”

It’s a sentiment that rings true for teens across the board. With the impending return to classes comes a whirlwind of emotions — a blend of excitement for new school clothes and reuniting with friends, mixed with the dread of earlier bedtimes, homework, and the uncertainty of classroom dynamics.

Despite having experienced the back-to-school routine for years, teenagers still rely on parental guidance to navigate this annual transition. From setting clear expectations to striking a balance between school and personal time, here are some strategies to ease the back-to-school jitters:

Setting Clear Expectations

Before the school year kicks off, it’s crucial to establish clear expectations and goals. Discussions about curfews, homework spaces, and responsibilities lay the groundwork for a smoother academic journey. For example you can designate a distraction-free homework area for your child outside of their bedroom, minimising arguments and ensuring focus during study sessions.

Reviewing Class Schedules Together

As soon as teens receive their class schedules, it’s an opportune moment to discuss potential challenges and concerns. Collaboratively strategising ways to address these issues fosters a sense of empowerment and preparedness for the academic road ahead.

Organisational Strategies

The chaos of new schedules and unfamiliar routines can overwhelm teens. By breaking down tasks into manageable steps, parents can help alleviate stress. Encouraging teens to brainstorm organisational strategies for lockers and belongings adds an element of excitement to the process.

Finding the Right Balance

Maintaining a healthy balance between academic, social, and personal pursuits is paramount for teen well-being:

  • Prioritise Sleep: Adequate sleep is essential for cognitive function and emotional regulation. Initiating a consistent bedtime routine, devoid of technological distractions, ensures teens are well-rested and equipped to tackle the day’s challenges.
  • Limit Extracurricular Activities: While involvement in extracurriculars fosters personal growth, over commitment can exacerbate stress levels. Encouraging teens to choose activities mindfully and recognizing when to say no promotes balance and self-care.
  • Nurture Christian Community: The influence of peer dynamics is profound, particularly during the school year’s onset. Engaging in positive Christian youth groups fosters supportive friendships and reinforces biblical values, grounding teens amidst societal pressures.

Brett Ryan from Focus on the Family Australia, joins Kirste and Dan every week to share advice like this to help families. You can find more information on their website.