August 13th, 2014
Some schools have already started, some start next week, and some start the week after that. Private schools often start after Labor Day. Today we’ll offer up some tips and tricks to make the transition from the lazy summer back to the structured school schedule as painless as possible.
Some kids are ready to go back as soon as possible because they miss their friends. Other kids will be hiding under their beds. Kids transitioning from one type of school to another will generally have the most anxiety due to the newness of the situation.
Most kids are secretly happy to go back to school so they can see their friends. If your little one has concerns, remind them that it’s a brand new year, and they have a chance to be different than last year if they want to.
Also, if you act excited and talk up how much fun they’re going to have, it will become infectious (but don’t overdo it. They can sense when you’re telling them what they want to hear). Start a countdown calendar. Get them involved in picking out a new backpack and lunch box. Have them plan ahead what they want to wear on the first day and for their school picture.
If they’re having some real concerns, sit down and have a heart to heart. Let them know if you had challenges, and how you overcame them. Then help them to think back to other challenges they had, and how they handled it. This will reinforce their belief in themselves.
Discuss any major milestones. If your baby is going into middle school and they get lockers, make it seem like it’s a really important achievement.
And the usual advice is the best advice: Start having your kids go to bed 10 minutes earlier each night and wake up 10 minutes earlier so they’re back in synch with getting up and getting to school on time.
- Re-Establish School Routines
- Nurture Independence
- Create a Launch Pad
- Set Up a Time and Place for Homework
- After-School Plans
- Make a Sick-Day Game Plan
- Attend Orientations to Meet and Greet
- Talk to the Teachers
- Make it a Family Affair
Most schools have emergency card forms to fill out as well as immunization forms, and contact information. Some schools mail them out during the summer so you can fill them out early. If not, expect to get a lot of forms on the first day. You can prepare by finding all of the information ahead of time. Also, double check with your usual emergency contacts to see if they’re still willing, and if they had any change of information as well.
Plan ahead what the lunches will be that first week, if you send in lunch. And make sure you have enough of everything for everyone.
Don’t buy too many school supplies. Have just enough to get them through a few days. Teachers sometimes change their lists year after year and you don’t want to be stuck with a 12 pack of crayons when the teacher wanted them to have a 10 pack of markers.
And don’t feel obligated to go buy all of the supplies on the first day. There’s usually huge lines at your local big box office supply store. Or consider going in the morning when there aren’t the usual crowds. However, don’t be surprised if there’s complaints that you bought the hearts folder when they wanted the peace symbol folder.
If you can, make the morning special with a homemade breakfast to mark the occasion. If you’re lucky, maybe you can even get a picture of everyone. What can be really fun is taking a picture on the last day of school and comparing how much they have grown.
Sneak a note of encouragement into their lunch boxes. The tween girl may roll her eyes but she’ll appreciate the thought.
If you don’t have a special routine like going out to dinner and hear all about the day, look into creating one that meets your family needs and will be special to you.