Back to school is upon us and this time of year can be a little bit crazy! Fitting in the end-of- summer trips, soaking up the last few weeks of lazier days and later nights while also trying to get organized and ready for those first days of school.
To help make the transition a bit smoother, and those first days as bump free as possible, we’ve got some easy ways to set your kiddos (and you!) up for back to school success!
Get Back To The Routine
We all know the importance of a good, solid routine – it helps ease stress, alleviates anxiety and creates a flow to the day. So as we get ready for school this year, starting the transition back to daily routines a few weeks ahead of the first day will help our kiddos adjust and acclimate to the school schedule.
One of the the first routines to get back to is earlier and more regular bedtimes and wake ups.
To get into a good bedtime routine, start by eliminating late evening activities. Just being at home in the evenings – playing games, watching a movie or just hanging out – will help ease kids into a more regular nighttime pattern.
In the 2 weeks leading up to school, establish a regular bedtime and wake up routine and stick to it. If your kiddos have been night owls all summer, start calm down activities an hour before it’s time to be in bed. If you’ve got kids who’ve slept late all summer, start setting an alarm a bit earlier than usual to help them ease back into the early school mornings.
If you’ve stuck to a regular bed time all summer, start incorporating other things into the nighttime routine that will help with the back to school transition – lay out clothes for the next day, organize personal items for the next morning, etc.
If your kiddos are always early risers, take advantage of establishing a good school morning routine!
Back to Work Routines
Getting back into work mode after months of pool days, movie nights and summer fun can be a bit of a challenge for our kids. There are a few things we can do in the weeks leading up to school to help them ease back into school work mode.
- Choose a few books, or one good chapter book for the older kiddos, and read each night before bed.
- Grab some grade level appropriate workbooks and have kids do a page or two a day
- Use flashcards to review letters, numbers, sounds, shapes, colors, etc.
Create A Solid At-Home System
A large part of creating a smooth transition is having a solid system in place at home to ensure our kiddos have everything they need to start the year off strong!
- Create homework stations prior to school starting. This helps set expectation and organization as the homework starts to roll in.
- Give each kiddo their own spot (a hook, cubby or shelf) to keep all the school items they need each day – backpack, lunch box, water bottle, sports equipment, etc. Set the expectation that they put everything where it goes when they get back home each day.
- Set up a filing system for important papers, permission slips and other paperwork so kids know exactly where to put them and you know where to look for them.
Make Time To Talk & Listen
Whenever we are faced with a transition, it’s important to take the time to work through not just the logistical parts but the emotional pieces that come into play. This goes for back to school too!
For some kids, heading back to school is fun, exciting and something they look forward to – encourage that conversation! Talk about what they are most excited for, who they are looking forward to seeing, what activities they’d like to be involved in this year.
Other kiddos may have a bit of anxiety around beginning a new school year. Make sure you’re having these conversations too. Remind them that it’s ok to be nervous and that there are ways to feel more comfortable!
- Does it help for your child to clearly understand their schedule for the day or week? Set up a family calendar so all school days, after school activities, appointments, etc are clearly labeled and kids can have a clear picture of the week ahead.
- Talk about specific things that might be causing your child’s anxieties and find positive, practical ways to help ease those feelings. Maybe you set a time with the principle to tour a new school building. Or plan a meet-up with other kids in the class so they can start the year knowing a few faces!
- Discuss how the first day or week of school will go and what they can expect.
- Plan a special dinner of their choice for the first day of school so they have something familiar to look forward to.
Overall, be a sounding board for their questions and concerns. Your positive and calm attitude will help them feel more at ease and make the transition that much easier.
Back to school doesn’t have to be hectic! With a few solid plans in place you can be ready to welcome a new school year organized, well rested and raring to go!