Summer is slowly slipping away, and in just a few short weeks the kids will be heading back to school. Getting back into the school year routine can be a challenge for everyone in the family. About two to three weeks before the big day, start taking steps to make the transition from summer to a school year routine easier. Here are some tips to help you out.
Getting Back on a Schedule
During the Summer, staying up and sleeping late are the norm. Slowly adjusting bedtime and wake up time over the period of a few weeks will make adjusting to the school year routine that much easier. About three weeks before school starts, have your child go to bed 15 minutes earlier at night, and get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning. At two weeks, adjust the time back by 30 minutes. The week before, adjust it by an hour. Starting a day or two before school begins, it would be ideal if the whole family could go to bed early. By the time the big day arrives, your child will be a lot less resistant to those early morning wake up calls to get ready for school. Also, make a point of discussing what the schedule for bath time, homework time, television/computer time and play time will be once the school year begins. Begin implementing as much of this schedule as you can a few weeks before the start of school. That way there will be no surprises, and your child will know what to expect.
Refreshing the Three R’s
Begin refreshing your child’s mind of the basics – reading, writing and arithmetic. Take 30 minutes a day, 2 to 3 times a week, to do an activity such as reading, writing and working some basic math problems. If you kept some of your child’s school work from the previous year, use this as a guide. This should be done without any distractions such as phones, televisions or music. It’s a great way to not only get your child back into learning mode, but also to help you see in what areas your child needs practice and where he needs help.
Several weeks before school starts you should be able to find out what supplies your child will need for her classroom. Plan a shopping trip together to go get the supplies. This will give you plenty of time to make sure you have everything, get it all labeled, and have it packed and ready to go. Another good idea is to go ahead and have your child start laying out his clothes for the next day before he gets into bed. This will help teach him to be organized, to be prepared and can also save a lot of time in the morning, especially those days when you are running behind.
As a family, sit down together and go through the school year calendar and mark important dates on a family calendar. This includes dates such as parent-teacher conferences, school holidays, testing dates, etc. Also go over the school rules and regulations pertaining to thing like the dress code and personal electronics, as a reminder. If your child will be riding the bus, this is also an opportune time to remind him of those rules, and to discuss pick up and drop off locations and times.
As a parent you can begin getting organized yourself by making sure all emergency contact and health information is updated and correct, and that the school has the proper copies. I found it helps to go ahead and start a folder for all school-related papers so I can find them easily if needed.
Other Tips for Getting Prepared to Return to School
Many schools have an open house several weeks before school begins. This is so your child can meet the teacher, check out her room and more. Make a point to attend.
Suggest your children get in touch with some of their friends from school. Arrange some play dates in order to re-establish connections that may have been set aside during summer.
Begin talking about the upcoming school year and put a positive spin on going back to school. Talk about the fun things your child will do: seeing their old friends, making new ones, field trips and more. Ask about what they hope to learn, what they are looking forward to, and even any possible fears or worries.
If your child has some anxiety about starting the next grade (or a new school, or even school for the first time), talk to them about it. Find out their fears and worries. Reassure them, and make sure they know that these feelings are normal and other children are experiencing them, too.
Getting back into a school year routine does not have to be hectic and stressful. Taking a few simple steps ahead of time can make it easier for the whole family.