The transition from the lazy days of summer to a more rigorous school year schedule can be difficult for kids. They’ve conditioned themselves to relax, have fun, and take a break from the challenges of school. Soon it will be time to head back to the books and it’s important to help your child make the shift as easily as possible.
Here are some ways to help your child mentally prepare to start the new year.
Ease Back Into the Routine
Start shifting bedtime and wake up time to a little earlier each day in the week or two leading up to the beginning of school. This will make it less of a shock for everyone when the alarm goes off that first day!
Consider structuring the day a little more than it has been with a specific wake up time, activities, meal times and, of course, bed time.
Plenty of kids read throughout the summer. But some kids are less enthusiastic about reading. Now is a good time to ask your child to spend a few minutes each day reading – books, magazines, anything! This will help sharpen her skills and give her more confidence when she walks in the classroom.
Plan the School Week Schedule Together
Talk with your child about how he sees the school day schedule playing out. How would he like morning routines to go, how he wants to spend his time after school and, of course, how he plans to get his homework completed each evening. Write out the schedule and stick to it.
If your child had a summer packet of work, now’s a good time to make sure it’s completed! Regardless of whether your child had summer work to do, spend a little time each day quizzing her on math facts or, depending on her grade level, asking her to practice her handwriting.
Talk with your child about school! Discuss the school routine, ask if she has any ideas to make it go smoothly and find out if she has any worries. The more you chat together in advance, the better! This will give you the opportunity to address concerns she may have.
Visit the School
Certainly if your child is attending a new school, by now you’ve probably visited the building, walked the halls and met some of the teachers. If you haven’t, now’s a great time to do it! Even if you haven’t, now’s a great time to do it! Even if your child is returning to the same school she attended last year, it’s sometimes a good idea to head over to the building a couple of days in advance so your child can visualize herself back in the halls. You know your child best so you can gage how much reintroduction she might need, if any.
Sure, you have a million things on your mind as you prepare to start the new school year. But kids take their cues from their parents and if your children sense you’re anxious or stressed, that can affect them as well. Slow down, calm down and take the transition in stride.
And remember: just because the start of the school year is just around the corner, don’t stop having fun! Continue enjoying the summertime schedule and activities while slowly preparing to get back into the swing of things. Summer only comes once a year; make the most of it!
One way to mentally prepare a child for back to school is getting them back on a bedtime routine and waking them up for the time they need to be up once school starts!