Next week is our last week of summer. I have mixed emotions as it means that our leisurely days will soon becoming to an end. But it also means structure, schedule and back to the fall routines. For a lot of families, this might be the very first introduction to school for incoming Kindergartners; others might be going into brand new schools altogether. For everyone, the start of school is a big transition from summer time to school time. As most parents know, transitions can be challenging. Here are some ideas and tips that might help ease the transition:
This article from Readers Digest keeps it simple when it comes to reducing stress. I totally agree with setting up a routine for the kids. The article says to have a morning routine where you share some plans for the day, I also think having an after-school routine and a bedtime routine is very helpful for easing into all those daily transitions. It is also important to talk with and listen to your children. Find out what is making them stressed out so that you can address it. Also, understand what your child is responsible for for homework and determine what the teachers expect from the kids.
This article has some additional tips for younger children going back to school. Playing with puzzles and games that engage your little one will keep their brains active, also taking walks and asking the kids to tell stories helps them grow their vocabulary and keep it fresh. Another suggestion is letting the children be in charge. Let your child set up his or her own workspace, where they can do their homework quietly. Let them pick out some special pencils, a stapler and a supply of paper that they can call their own. When they have created the space themselves, they will be excited to get down to work! It may also be helpful to have the kids dictate the routine for after-school time. For our family, it is hard to come right home from school and get back to the books. We try and get a little outside time to run around, then come home, have a snack and then get to work. If the kids come up with the plan on their own, they are more likely to stick with it.
DisneyFamily.com has some great tips for those families and children that are entering a brand-new school. Doing a dress rehearsal for the first day of school might help your little one feel a little more comfortable when they enter the school doors on the first day. It is also nice to be prepared and ready with your school supplies and if possible, touch base with the teacher prior to the first day.
Of course there are a lot of things to worry about for the first day of school: making sure your child is stress free is top of the list, you want to make sure their class and teacher are the right match for them, you hope they got enough sleep the night before and didn’t lose too much knowledge over the summer. The list can go on and on, but one very important thing to remember, once you have dropped your child off at the bus stop or waited until the teacher kicked you out of the classroom, is that the rest of the day is for YOU! Now take some advice from here or here and use that school day to do something that you might not normally do: get a pedicure, take a walk or run, or start a project in your home. Once you tell yourself that your children are doing great and enjoying school, you will be able to enjoy yourself as well.