Sure, you need pencils and books, but we need to prepare our children for heading back to school emotionally.  Here are some ways to connect with your child on back-to-school issues–from anticipated fears to finding new ways to have fun.

1. Visions: Set time aside to take your child or children out to eat and have a talk about the upcoming year and ask them what they envision this next year being like. Have them tell you what they think friendships will be like, a new teacher will be like, what their classes may be like and them ask them how they feel.

2. Goals: ask them what they want to improve upon from last year in this school year. Ask them what solutions or new behaviors they plan to use to make those changes and then offer them some of your ideas.

3. Fears: Ask them what they are nervous about for the upcoming year and what their ideas are to handle some of those fears.

4. Extracurricular activities:  talk with them about new things they would like to try or if they would like to continue doing the things in which they are already involved.  Be open to your kids trying new things if that’s what they wany to do; support them.

5. Responsibilities:  talk with them about how increased age bringing increased responsibilities and help them to learn how to schedule things so they can fit it all in.  Also, responsibilities in the home should also increase.

6. Technology:  Set rules around technology (games, iPad, phone, social media) use before school starts so your children know what is expected of them in terms of self-control so they put their responsibilities first and leisure second.

7. Fun: ask you kids what they want to do in their free time for fun, and set up a system that if they meet their goals and expectations that they can get a reward of their choice.