It may be hard to believe, but the first day of school will be here before you know it. In order to make the transition from summer vacation to classroom learning as easy and successful as possible, you need to start preparing now. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to get you started.
Do: Get Back Into a Routine
Your kids may be enjoying sleeping in, as well as the other lovely benefits of an unscheduled summer break, but pretty soon they will need to get used to regular bedtime, wake-up time and the other aspects of a school routine. To make this as stress-free as you can, let your kiddos know that during the final week of vacation they will be returning to a school-based schedule. You can ease them in gently; for instance, you can give them a few days to go back to a 9 p.m. bedtime instead of midnight, and get them used to waking up at 7 a.m., getting dressed and eating breakfast ahead of the first day.
Don’t: Tell Them Your Anxieties
Going back to school can also be an anxious time for parents — you might be worried that your shy son will sit alone at lunch or that your easily distracted daughter will struggle in reading. As Child Mind notes, resist the urge to ask your son if he made any new friends, as that might add to his own level of stress. Instead, ask your kids more neutral questions like, “What are three things that you liked about your school day?”
Do: Let Them Choose Some New Clothing
If your mom ever chose your school clothing for you when you were younger, you probably already know how much that can stifle your sense of self. To help your kids embrace their own style, which can help them to relax and do well in class, let them pick out their own clothes and shoes for back to school. Shoes are more than a functional covering for feet; they are one of the easiest ways for your kids to add their own touch of style to their outfits.
You don’t have to take them on insanely expensive shopping sprees; even a couple of new shirts and pairs of pants for each kiddo that they like and feel comfortable in, along with new school shoes and a backpack, will go a long way in helping them feel better about going to school.
Don’t: Overschedule Your Kiddo
At the beginning of the school year, your child’s backpack will probably be full of flyers about clubs, lessons, sports teams and other extracurricular activities. As much as you’d love to see your kiddo involved in lots of activities, resist this urge and avoid over-committing both your child and yourself to a too-busy schedule. If your kiddo is amenable to the idea, let him or her choose one activity to try and then see how it goes with the added time and commitment requirement.
Do: Be Aware of What and When They Are Eating
Some kids will gleefully gobble up a big breakfast, while others can barely eat half of a banana before heading out the door. If the latter is true for your kiddos, find out when lunch takes place at their school and if they can have a snack mid-morning. You might learn that your son doesn’t get a lunch break until 1 p.m. and is so hungry by noon that he can’t concentrate in math. If this is the case, either work with him to find breakfast items he will eat or see about sending him to school with a snack.
For kids who bring their lunch, casually inquire if sharing is allowed and if they ever do it—if you learn that your daughter traded away her ham and cheese sandwich for a handful of Oreos, let her know that this is not an acceptable option and add a couple of cookies to her lunchbox.
Here’s to a Great Year
When it comes to going back to school, there are often a few bumps in the road — and that’s perfectly normal. By getting back into a solid routine well before the first day, staying positive, allowing your kids to express their individuality through their clothing, keeping their schedules light and being aware of their diets, those glitches should be minor, and your kids will be well on their way to a successful school year.