Summer can be a time to ease back on schedules and allow our kids to be a bit freer with our time. Kids are staying up later at night, sleeping in, running around in flip-flops and bathing suits and enjoying time with their friends. Then you take a peek at the calendar and you realize school starts in a few weeks! Let’s be honest, our immediate response is to have more fun and ignore the fact that it’s coming, our kids, too.
Taking some time to prepare for the school year will help your whole family transition more easily, and there are a few basic steps to get your family ready for back to school and get your child excited about it! Here is my personal back-to-school survival guide:
The first week of school can be the hardest with the business of it all and the extra early morning starts. By mid-week, the kids are fading fast in classrooms from exhaustion. One of the best ways to prepare your child is to start working back into school schedules a few weeks ahead of time.
Start with bedtimes first. Encourage your child to start going to bed when they would need to for the school year. At the same time, also start working on waking up at the time your child would need to wake up for school each morning. This one can get to be challenging but keep at it. It takes about three weeks to get back on a schedule. Think of a few fun things to do first thing in the morning to encourage them to rise and shine, perhaps special breakfasts or an outdoor adventure before the warm sun rises.
Connect with Friends
For some kids, connecting back with friends can be the thing they look forward to the most about school. However, for others, it can be a source of anxiety for them. They begin to worry if they will know anyone in their new class and if they will make new friends easily.
Connecting your child with a few friends before you go back to school can help with those anxieties. Make it a point to add the “Meet the Teacher” event to your calendar to attend. By attending, it gives your child the weekend to better prepare for who’s in his or her class. Plus, it introduces your child to his or her new environment that he or she will be spending the school year in. Walking your child through how to get there, where to put his or her things and where to sit can make things less stressful the first day of school.
Getting your child involved in the process of purchasing school supplies can be a lot of fun. Encourage him or her to create the list of things that he or she needs. Check your school’s website for the list. Many stores have the supply list right there in the store filed under your school’s name and grade.
Take advantage of early sales and get your shopping done early to avoid the crowds and honestly, save a little bit of money. You never know, you may have a savvy shopper at home with you. Pass over the ads to your child to take a look through and see if he or she can find the best deals, it’s a great math lesson. If you’re able to, purchase a few extras to bring to class to help support your child’s teacher and fellow students.
Keep purchased school supplies all together in one location; consider storing them in your child’s backpack. The more involved your child can be with school supplies, truthfully, the more likely he or she will be to take care of them throughout the school year.
Don’t forget to create an area for homework time, too. Purchasing multiple supplies can help your child be prepared during homework time. Create a system for school clothes and encourage him or her to coordinate outfits with you to prepare. Mornings run smoothly for school when everything is set out and ready to go each morning. Plus, it reassures your child that he or she is all set and ready to go. Having a system for school lunch can be a big time saver! Pre-filling a few containers before the beginning of the week together can save time and create healthier choices that help with brain food. Be sure to prepay on your child’s lunch account if that’s an option: this helps to save time, too.
Plan a Back-to-School Event
We all enjoy counting down to something special, so why not do it for back to school? Create a fun way to countdown with your family for the first day of school. For ideas, consider a paper chain, a special activity each day or maybe even a book countdown.
Inviting friends over for an end of summer party can be lots of fun, too. For younger students, thinking of a first day of school teacher gift for the teacher can be a thoughtful way to build your child’s student-teacher relationship. It’s the thought that counts so even an “It’s nice to meet you note” is all they need to make. It can be fun to have your child make a self-portrait or a back to school interview to create a keepsake before school starts. The night before school starts can be a little anxious for everyone. For younger students, consider having a few books about starting school to read together.
First Day of School
Our parents did it and we still continue to do it today: take that first day of school photo year after year. It shows our children that this day is special and that we’re proud of them as parents and their progress from year to year. Print it out and hang it on the fridge as a reminder of the excitement of the day. You could also add a little poem of inspiration to create a keepsake.
Back-to-School Survival Guide
Creating a system that works for you is key for your family’s back-to-school prep. Discussing it together and setting goals together will help you all be prepared in your routine, supplies and overall memories as you share the excitement of starting school each year. Keeping students excited about school and learning can help lead to their success!