How To: Prepare for Back to School!
With the summer break drawing to a close, it’s time to prepare to get back into the school routine. Children of all ages can find it a bit of a challenge to once again adjust to a full schedule, but here are three ways in which you can ease the transition and kick start the new academic year:
Re-Establish School Routines
Use the last few weeks of summer to get out of the holiday mood and back into a school-day rhythm. Have your child practice getting up and getting dressed at the same time every morning. Start eating breakfast, lunch, and snacks around the times your child will eat when school is in session.It is especially important to implement a healthy sleep routine so that your child is well-rested before the school year begins. Limit the use of smart phones and tablets before bedtime to ensure better sleep for both your child and yourself.
If possible, try to plan morning activities outside the house in the week or two before school as this will help children once get used to leaving the house in the morning rather than sleeping in or lazing around. Re-establishing a morning routine for your child and yourself will help cut the stress and chaos that starting or returning to school can often bring.
Encourage your child to take up responsibilities that will make the school routine easier for both of you. Entrust them to make lists of things that need to be bought or tasks that need to be completed before school starts. Then support them in checking things off the list in a timely manner so as to ensure that they are all set for the first day of school.
Even if your child is young, you can instil skills that will build confidence and independence at school. Have your young child practice writing her name and tying her own shoes. “The transition to school will be easier for everyone if your child can manage basic needs without relying on an adult.
Get older children into the habit of preparing for each day the night before by asking them to lay out their clothes and keep their bags ready so as too ease the morning rush.
Designate specific places in the house where school things like backpacks and lunch boxes always go to avoid last-minute scrambles in the morning. You might also have your child make a list of things to take to school and post it by the front door.
Communicate and Motivate
Sometimes, children can be wary of returning to school due to issues which they have not been able to communicate with you. It is therefore paramount to maintain open channels of communication and talk with your child about their feelings – both the excitement and the concerns – about starting or returning to school.
Never embarrass, discount or demean your children’s feelings. Ask them how they would like to be helped or supported in their educational journeys. This is called the empathic process, and if you invest children in the discussion, they are more likely to have a happy and rewarding school year. Remember that you can always approach your child’s teachers to discuss or get help in resolving any issues they may be facing.
Also join your child in reflecting on the previous school year to work out if they wish to do anything differently this year. It could be something as small as making at least one new friend or taking initiative to work on a special pet project or pursuing a new extracurricular interest. This way, students can start the new year with a clear goal of what they want to experience/achieve over the coming months.