Now’s the Time…to Get Back into the Swing of School
Summer is the time for looser schedules, later bedtimes, and lighter learning. We’ve all had a great time exploring new places and experiencing new things, but because of all the disturbances to the schedule that summer brings, kids might have a more difficult transition than usual this coming fall.
Studies show time and again the first five years are crucial to lifelong success; every year after builds on that early foundation. If you’re wondering about getting ready for back-to-school, now’s the time—and here is the place—for smarter starts and readier returns. Here are some great tips to help your kids—little and big alike—get back into school mode.
Reset Your Routine: Now’s the time to rein it in and ready for a new year.
- Help make your kids’ transition easier by gradually moving toward your regular school year bedtime/wakeup targets and reimplementing other limits (screen time, night time routines, etc.)
- Establish a family calendar to keep track of back-to-school events, activities, and meetings as schedules heat up
- Practice positive habits of picking out clothes the night before and placing important items by the door for smoother mornings
- Set a study space for school-age kids that’s quiet, well-lit, and well-supplied
- Get brains back in action with extra reading, worksheets, puzzles, and other “thought-full” projects
Soothe Any Anxieties: Some kids might be raring to go back to school while others feel ambivalent. As the school year draws nigh, now’s the time to exhibit empathy and show support while accentuating the positive.
- Talk openly with your child about his or her feelings on the upcoming school year
- Offer words of encouragement and understanding
- Share about a time when you were afraid and what you did to get through it
Start Students Smartly: First-day jitters can feel practically seismic for kids who are starting preschool or elementary school for the first time. If you’ve got a new student in your midst, now’s the time to practice and get familiarized.
- Show your child the new school or childcare center for comfort’s sake, before his or her first day
- Rehearse your new daily routine—from transportation to teachers, and backpacks to bedtimes
- Go on a tour of the facility to get a feel for the new surroundings, and identify all the important spots (class-, bath-, play- and lunch rooms, etc.)
- Read books together about going to childcare, preschool, or kindergarten for the first time, or transitioning from grade to grade
Find Friendly Faces: Helping kids reconnect with peers—even younger ones in childcare—can go a long way to ease unknowns and strengthen feelings of belonging.
- Consider meeting with other families before school starts at a park to share schedules and catch up
- Continue sharing with social support systems even after school starts to help both families and students to get back into the swing of things
A new school year may bring some new fears and anxieties for your child, but these tips will help alleviate the worry and ease the transition from summer back to school. Soon, the chatter around the house will be about new teachers, lessons, and friends!