When your children to go back to school at the end of a long and pleasant summer, the transition can be difficult for kids to manage. This is especially true for younger children.
Fortunately, parents can ease this transition for everyone by thinking ahead and taking a few simple steps.
Re-Establish School Routines
Halfway through the school break, begin to gradually adjust your child’s bedtime and morning wake-up schedule to get back on track. In the week or so prior to school starting, do some practice runs of your morning routine, including getting them dressed and out the door on time.
Many parents maintain the same schedule all year long, so the back-to-school ritual causes less upheaval for the family. Make a game of it and offer your children healthy rewards for meeting schedule goals during this adjustment period.
Check in with your child’s school to verify this year’s schedule. Be sure to take note of any changes, including new faculty, attendance requirements, changes in bus or class schedules, or the adoption of new programs or curricula.
At the same time, determine what supplies, uniforms and medical records will be required. Plan a time to shop for clothes and supplies early to beat the crowds and enjoy the best selection. Finally, schedule an appointment with your physician to update immunizations and conduct a back-to-school or sports physical.
Set Them Up for Success
Childhood education experts urge parents to create a dedicated space at home for each child to maintain their books, school supplies and backpacks, and to do their homework without distraction or disruption. Asking multiple children to share a workspace and computer for this purpose can be a recipe for squabbles, so designate personal spaces whenever possible.
In addition to dedicated space, delineate times for work and play. Experts recommend dedicating a set amount of time for homework each day. If your child finishes before that time is up, ask them to read quietly or work ahead in their class so that any other children in the home can be disrupted.
Build Up to the First Day of School
Although you may remember clearly what the first days of the school year are like, you kids may forget over the break. Talk about starting school often over the course of the break, and make sure it’s something they can look forward to.
Be sure each child knows where their classroom will be, where the restrooms are and how to reach emergency exits. For younger children, plan on accompanying them to their first day of school and prepare them for the routine of catching the bus or meeting their carpool for pick-up and drop-off. It may also be helpful for your young child to meet the teacher prior to the first day of school, so they can recognize at least one friendly face among a sea of confusion.
A new school year is always somewhat of a stressful situation for everyone but, with just a little planning, you can make sure this year’s back-to-school experience is a positive one!