Ready or Not! Back To School is here!
By Margie Manion
Remember that feeling of butterflies in your tummy the night before the first day of school? There are many reasons to be excited and a little apprehensive for students of all ages. Change is hard for adults and children. Back to school means a new grade, teacher, peers, and set of new expectations.
Here are some tips to make the transition from a “no schedule summer” to a busy “back-to-school routine” a smooth one!
1. Involve your kids. Focus on the positive aspects of the new school year. Let them shop with you to pick out new school supplies, groceries for lunches, and clothes. This is a perfect time to get rid of clothes that they’ve grown out of from last year. My kids think it’s so funny when they try on a pair of pants that are way too short. Kids love to see how much they’ve grown!
2. Routine. Start getting the kids to sleep at a reasonable hour and get them up earlier to prepare for the schedule change. If you have a younger child, practice bathroom needs so that they will feel prepared when they go to school. It will be one less thing for them (and you) to be nervous about. Eating habits change during the summer too. Many kids get used to snacking all day and eating meals when they get hungry. Get your kids eating a healthy breakfast and back on a school meal schedule.
3. Talk to your kids. Younger children: Talk about what the first day of school is going to look like, “This is where I will take you to catch the bus and it’s where I will be waiting for you everyday when you get home”. Take them to school to show them their classroom and bathroom so they won’t be nervous about getting lost. Many schools host a “Back To School Night”, plan to attend. This is a great time to review safety rules and review personal information (full name, address, phone number). Older kids: Talk about the things they are anticipating changing this year. The older kids get, the more responsibility is put on them. How will they deal with the larger work load? What sports or after school activities are they thinking about participating in? What are different goals for the new school year?
4. READ. If you haven’t been doing this all summer, it isn’t too late. Read to your kids and listen to them read to you! Go to the library and get them new books to read. Get your kids back in the practice of reading for fun. As a teacher, this helps them so much. I always tell my students to pick a book that doesn’t have over 5 words on one page that they don’t know or can’t read. If they can read every word, it is too easy. That is an easy way to pick a book on the right level.
5. Celebrate! I’m sure by the end of the summer many parents are ready to celebrate their kids going back to school- then do it! What a great tradition for you and your kids. You can do something simple like letting them pick what they want for breakfast and dinner on the first day of school. You can throw a little ice cream party with some friends to celebrate the end of a great summer. Take time to reflect and talk about everything you did as a family this summer. You can also surprise the kids with cookies when they come home on the first day! They will love it!