With the return back to school just around the corner, preparing your child(ren) for the transition from Summer is imperative. Many parents extend bedtime, forego studying and put off otherwise routine tasks for the sake of summertime fun and play. Easing your kids back into the school routine can be tricky, frustrating, and may even seem impossible at times. With new schedules comes much resistance and often times tears and tantrums. The fear and hesitation children feel when it comes to walking through those double doors on the first day of school can be calmed with a few tips.
If you’ve extended bedtime, gradually decrease it – maybe 15-30 minutes earlier for a week. 30 minutes the next week (if necessary) until you get to the desired bedtime. It’s important to get them in the habit of sleeping on a schedule to ensure they’re well rested when school does begin.
Talk to your child(ren) about going back to school. Ask them if they’re excited, nervous, scared about going back (or starting if that’s the case.) Ease their qualms with personal stories, how did you manage your first day of school?
Talk about the new things they’ll be learning (this may require you to do some catching up too, curriculums have changed a lot since we were in school – Like how Pluto is no longer a planet!) This would be a good time to talk to them about future plans, what do they want to be, what goals do they have – even if they’re young, getting them thinking about these things can be great motivation.
Go shopping! It may sound scary, but it’s not only necessary, but a great way to calm those nerves and motivate a child to embrace school. Let them pick out some wacky notebooks, folders, pencils etc.. and some new clothes. You may even learn a thing or two about “what’s hip.” (I’m pretty sure no one says hip anymore, but I’m old school!)
Look over the new curriculum and start a study schedule. Now, I’m not suggesting you spend 8 hours a day doing school work, but reviewing things from last year’s school year and upcoming could help ensure they’re prepared for what’s to come. Set aside an hour a day to do this (maybe less if they’re young.)
Detail your expectations for them. Set up a reward system for grades (i.e. 3 A’s = a day of bowling, a new game, or their favorite dinner.) This can get them highly motivated for returning to school and actually doing well, if all else fails – try bribery!
Figure out the basics. Do they want to buy lunch or pack; Will you be driving them to school, are they driving themselves, or taking the bus; Set up a designated place for book bags, lunch bags and other school necessities. This will help everyone by being prepared and having little to no last minute surprises.
This is by no means an all inclusive list, but rather a guideline to help the back to school transition. The most important thing is to make your child(ren) comfortable with school – this helps mental & social development as well as increasing the chance of educational success. Having a schedule in place, and helping them to get and stay on schedule will increase the odds for good grades, decrease the odds for reluctant behavior, and give you peace of mind knowing what you’re doing will benefit your kids.
This is a guest post by Amber Killmon, owner of the blog Parent Palace. Amber lives on the beach in Virginia with her son, boyfriend and cat and stays busy 25 hours a day!