It seems like summer is over in the blink of an eye, especially to young children who had summers jam packed with fun like swimming, family beach vacations and tons of arts and crafts. Prepare your children early for going back to school, so it doesn’t come as such a shock when the time comes to get back into the routine. Here are some tips for a gradual and stress-free transition back to school days.
- Gradually transition your child to a more structured schedule. During summer, it’s easy to get relaxed about staying on a schedule. Restarting a “normal” schedule is much easier when you start early rather than on the first day of school. Gradually wind down earlier for bed, eat meals at regular times and talk about what to expect on school days.
- Discuss your child’s feelings. Every new school year brings big changes, and that can come with some pretty big emotions. Talk about what your child is feeling, whether it’s excitement, fear or a combination of emotions, and let him or her know these feelings are normal.
- Go back to school before the first day. As much as possible, let your child meet with his or her new teacher, explore the classroom and, if it’s a new school, explore the rest of the school. The more familiar the setting, the easier it will be to adjust.
- Talk about the fun parts of starting a new school year. Focus on the positive with your child — the new friends, school supplies, outfits, teachers and things they will learn. New doesn’t have to mean scary. Be excited with your child. He or she picks up on your emotions, so if you feel nervous or sad, it can influence your child’s feelings about starting school.
- Let your child know that you’re there for support no matter what. You can leave little notes of encouragement in your child’s lunchbox so that you’re “there” even when you’re not physically there. Reassure your child that if there are any issues at school, you’ll be there to help resolve them.
- Find a friend before the first day. If possible, have your child meet up with a classmate so there’s a first day friend waiting for him or her. Having a friend to help you through a new experience and environment can make all the difference.
- Build confidence in your child by working on skills he or she will need to be independent at school. If you have a rising kindergartner, this might mean practicing shoe tying or unbuttoning and buttoning pants during bathroom breaks. You can talk about the importance of writing down assignments and being responsible for homework with older students. Knowing the expectations beforehand can help ease first day jitters.
- Get organized. Creating a space for your child to store all of his or her school belongings can really help start the day stress-free each and every day. Make sure your child knows where to store his or her backpack, shoes, coat and lunchbox so there’s no scrambling to find things in the morning. Choose outfits the night before so getting dressed is a breeze. Start this organization and form these habits in the summer for a smooth transition into the school year.
At Sparkles! we understand that getting back in the swing of things is sometimes a challenge. If you would like to learn more about our programs and how we prepare children to go back to school, contact us. We’d be happy to share what we know.