It’s officially that time of the summer when parents everywhere realize that the new school year is just around the corner. Let the flurry of paperwork, medical records, pencil sharpening, and backpack packing begin!
Some of you have done this dance before, but many of you are sending your not-so-little ones off to kindergarten (gulp, I’m one of those) for the very first time. Either way, the best way to ensure a calm and positive transition to school is to be prepared.
The good news is that there are a few things you can start doing now to gradually transition your child before the school year begins. Below are 5 tips to ensure back to school success!
1. Prepare Your Kids for the Change
I don’t know about you, but in our house summer mornings are slow. My kids have been known to stay in their pajamas until lunch if we don’t have plans. Mornings during the school year, on the other hand, move fast! Two to three weeks before the first day of school is a good time to return to an early bedtime, and get out the door early (even if only for a walk). Try to keep the lazy mornings and late nights to a minimum now so that their bodies have time to adjust. This is also a good time to start putting a positive spin on school. A positive parent = a positive child. Get your kids pumped up for school by talking about of the fun things to come this year.
2. Create a School Year-Friendly Routine
Getting kids up, dressed, fed, and out the door on time those first few weeks can feel like a circus act. Start implementing a school-friendly structure now to make for an easier first week.
- Have kids choose and lay out clothes at night.
- Pack backpacks and place by the front door each night before bed.
- Plan weekly meals in advance.
- Cut fruit for breakfast before you go to bed.
- Program the coffee maker!
- Create a snack drawer in the fridge with pre-made snacks that your child can easily access.
- Serve meals at consistent times.
- Implement family reading time for 20 minutes per day.
3. Get Organized
It’s amazing how quickly the forms start piling up during the last few weeks of summer. It’s difficult to soak in those remaining moments of family time with forms and shopping lists hanging over your head. Forget about the school deadlines; create your own deadline when the forms start rolling in. Better yet, avoid letting them pile up by filling them out as they come in.
Back to school shopping always seems like a huge task, but it can be a lot of fun. Whether you prefer to shop online or in the store, involve your child in the back to school shopping. Kids feel more comfortable and less anxious when they feel like they have some control and their input is appreciated. Allow them to make some choices when it comes to clothing and school supplies whenever possible. And don’t forget to check your email obsessively; the back to school coupons are waiting to be redeemed!
4. Get Social
Even if your child enrolled in some local camps this summer, chances are he missed some of his school friends. Now is a great time to schedule playgroups or play dates with classmates. Kids feel more at ease when they see a friendly face on the first day of school. Ask your child which friends he wants to see and start socializing!
5. Provide Reassurance
Many kids struggle with transitions, even when they get to high school. Starting over each year can be a breeze for some while others seem to go into a panic. Communicate with your child often. Just prior to bedtime is a great time to have a quiet chat and see how your child is feeling about going back to school. Empathize, share your own back to school experiences, and reassure your child that you will be there to support him every step of the way. Try to avoid minimizing your child’s worries. Back to school anxiety can result in headaches, stomachaches, and sleep disturbance. Normalize your child’s feelings and remain positive.
How do you prepare for the school year?
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.