Back to School 101

Back to School 101

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Our local schools are open and it’s almost mass hysteria as children return to school.  It’s all an organizational game.  The schools have to organize teachers, classrooms, bus schedules, lunch duty, after-school programming, etc.  Parents have to organize the seemingly endless school supply list, uniforms, drop off and pick up schedules, lunches, etc.  Our team of therapists came together this week to give you some tips to best transition back to school!


# 1 Amanda Landry, LMHC, CAP, NCC

Qualified Supervisor in Broward

The best first day of school picture I saw online is one that said “Bye, Felicia”.  That is one of the funniest taglines and so aptly put for this mother.  For first-time kindergartners, the parents are probably experiencing some feelings of sadness and loss as their children enter this new phase.  However, based on what I’ve heard from most parents and my Facebook “research” I’ve collected while scrolling through, most parents are ecstatic to end summer vacation.

My biggest recommendation for parents is to implement a schedule right from the beginning in order to help reduce anxiety right away.  Having scheduled time for activities can help create a sense of responsibility and stability for your child.  The more a child can feel stable with their schedule, the more they will feel stable, thus reducing feelings of anxiety.

Create a sleep schedule

Having a designated bedtime can help reduce any issues with going to sleep.  Their age is going to greatly determine their bedtime.  Talking to your child about their bedtime and the importance of sleep may not convince them to go to bed early; however it’s an important step to take.

Create a homework schedule

Most kids aren’t going to be too happy to rush home and do homework after they’ve been in school all day doing work.  Homework and setting aside time to do homework is going to be paramount for your child’s success in school.

Create a reading schedule

Reading can be fun!  Let your child pick the book or start reading to them at a young age.  Pick books that are interesting to them.  Incorporate reading into your daily schedule and role model for them what reading is all about.

Create a chore schedule

There has been recent literature suggesting that when a child has chores to do in the house, it is actually more effective than putting them in a million after-school activities.  Having them become an active member of the household teaches them to become active members in other areas of their lives and in the future.

Don’t forget to add in fun

Having fun, playing games and just being silly is what being a kid is all about.  Let them run around, get dirty and use their imagination on a regular basis.


Amanda Landry, LMHC, CAP decided to become a therapist while attending Nova Southeastern University. She saw the need to help people achieve the life they wanted to live, while creating a life of her own. She completed her master’s in Mental Health Counseling and started a career in the juvenile justice arena. Since then, she has started a private practice in Pembroke Pines, Florida, specializing in depression, anxiety relationship issues, and substance abuse. Amanda is a believer in holistic treatment and she practices veganism, meditation and yoga in her life. Find out more about her practice here. For a free 15-minute consultation, call or text Amanda at 954-378-5381 or email her at amanda@amandapattersonlmhc.com.



#2 Michelle Scharlop, MS, LMFT

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Hello Parents,

You have an important role in society. You are the way we can change the world. One child at a time, let’s build their self confidence! A confident child will grow into an adult who is able to make better and more rewarding choices in life.

Yes, other factors such as other adults, peers, media and opportunities can influence how a child feels about themselves. But it starts with the parents. So start right away.

Building self confidence starts early. Babies learn that they are loved and are lovable by the people that care for them. They learn that when they cry, their needs are met, with a bottle, a dry diaper or being picked up and held. When their needs are met, the message to the baby is, “You matter, you are important”. That is a powerful message that gives babies a very healthy start.

A child needs to be able to look in a mirror and like the person he sees. A child that grows up with a healthy self-worth will have a realistic understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. They will also be empowered to try new things as succeeding would be wonderful but failing would not be shattering but a lesson learned.

Low self confidence can have devastating consequences. It can create anxietystress and loneliness. Additionally, it could increase the likelihood of depression. It could also cause problems in maintaining friends and having healthy romantic relationships as an adult. It can seriously impair academic performance in school. As well as contribute to behavioral problems in school and at home. It can also lead to increased vulnerability to drug and alcohol abuse as a teen and/or adult. All of these things that were mentioned are ones that as a parent, you would not wish for your child. So what can you do?

As an informed parent, listen to your child when they speak and speak to your child in a respectful tone. Give the appropriate attention, affection and unconditional love that all children need. Encourage your child to try new things, foster curiosity, promote problem solving and always praise the effort. Give your child opportunities to take responsibility and be proud of what they can do. Recognize their accomplishments and accept their failures with the message that you tried and it is not a failure of your whole self. Be mindful and avoid the negatives: harsh criticism, expecting perfection, nagging, comparing them to others (siblings, friends) and ignoring them.

I encourage you to use this list as a guide and come up with some of your own ideas. With greater self awareness of your own behaviors and reactions in situations and the knowledge that it is impacting your child you can make the right choices that will build your child’s confidence.

Children are not born with self confidence. It is learned by what they can do and by what their parents think of them.  As Peggy O’Mara said, “The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice”. Remember that and give the message, “Trust in yourself, believe in yourself and let your confidence shine”.


Michelle Scharlop is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in Plantation, Florida. She has over a decade of experience in working with all types of relationships such as dating, premarital, married, parent/adult child and adult siblings. As a Relationship Expert she specializes in communication issues, conflict resolution, infidelity, infertility, blended families and life transitions. If you live in Plantation, Davie, Sunrise, Weston, or any of the nearby areas, she is the Relationship Expert that can help you break down the walls, stop walking on eggs shells and have the relationship you always dreamed of having with your spouse/parent/adult child/sibling. Give her a call today, so you can get started on getting your relationship in a stronger, happier place.



Good luck to all the parents out there getting their children ready for school!


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