As the summer days fade away, it will soon be time to put away the pool gear and lemonade stands and prepare for going back to school. Here are some tips to make the transition easier for you and your children.
- Begin the school-year schedule. Getting back into the school routine can be a challenge for everyone in the family. To make the switch easier, start early. A few weeks before school starts, begin moving bedtime back to an earlier time. Talk to your child about the fun things your child will learn, the old friends he’ll see and the new friends he’ll make. Try to avoid making plans for big trips right before the start of school. Establish school-day schedules for homework, TV, baths and bedtime as a family. When kids have buy-in with the plan, the more likely they are to adhere to the changes. Attempt to plan play dates with friends from school to re-establish connections that may have been dropped for the summer or to create new ones. Going back to school can be less stressful if there’s a friend by their side.
- Start a family calendar in a common area where each family member can write down his or her activities. I might even suggest a specific color for each family member to coordinate rides, etc…
- The “busyness” seems to start almost immediately, so make your plan for the school year while you’re less stressed. Plan to fill out any school paperwork several days before it’s due. Have the necessary immunization records available for easy reference. Update school emergency contact and health information for the coming year. Mark important dates (such as back-to-school night, parent-teacher conferences and school holidays) on the family calendar. Start a folder for school newsletters and other papers so that you can easily find and refer to them, if necessary. I would suggest one folder per child for quick reference. Create a “get-ready-the-night-before” policy. Pick clothes for the next day and pack the backpack every evening before bedtime, and you’ll save precious time, and parent’s nerves, in the morning.
- Go through your children’s closets and sort out everything they’ve outgrown. By reducing the clutter, you will be able to get them dressed quickly. When shopping for school clothes, remember school dress codes. Some schools prohibit short skirts and tank tops for girls and “sagging” (baggy trousers that hang low) for boys. Schools may also have rules regarding printed words or phrases on clothes.
- Decide if you can give to the school each month as a volunteer and involved parent: in the classroom, on field trips, for fundraising events and on school-wide committees.
- Have a set schedule and a place to study at home to assist your child with staying organized and thus leading to being successful at school.
- Confirm all transportation to and from school well before the first day.
Get the whole family involved with making calendars, setting up study desks, donating old clothes and shopping. Positivity and making the back-to-school transition fun is the key to success!