It is that time of year where Target and Walmart have ten school supply aisles and those last few days of summer are upon us. It is time for our kids to go back to school which means making a huge transition from the fun of summer to the structure of school. There are ways that parents can help their children make this transition a successful one:
1. Getting back into sleep routines
No matter how much effort my parents put into me keeping a normal sleep schedule during the summer I always ended up staying up late and sleeping in. Those first few weeks of waking up at 6:00 when school started was miserable - for grumpy me and for my poor parents. Start prioritizing a school sleep schedule now. It is best if this begins two weeks before school starts but it isn’t too late to start now. Getting enough sleep is vital to students success in school. Help them start the school year strong by getting back into a routine school sleep schedule.
2. Identifying a study space
Go ahead and talk about studying expectations with your student. How much time will they likely need to spend doing homework? For younger kids, will they be able to do this on their own or will they need you to sit with them? Studying and homework is always most productive when it occurs in a specific study space - whether this is a desk or the kitchen table. Study places to avoid include in front of the TV or in bed.
3. Talk about the emotions of school starting
Is your child excited about going to school? Or are they dreading it? Set some time aside with each child to talk about the emotions of school starting. Address any anxieties they might have about new teachers, new schools or making friends. Help them identify the positives of school starting (without discounting anything they may be anxious about). Are they excited that they will have a friend in their class? Do they love their new book bag? Help your child talk through their emotions of school starting again. Listen to what they have to say and validate how they are feeling. Acknowledge that it is normal to have some fears and anxieties about the first day of school.
4. Create a evening and morning routine
Children flourish under routine. If you can set expectations for them before school starts then you will most likely be successful in helping lessen the stress of school. Create a morning and evening routine that your children can easily follow. This helps lessen the chaos of bedtime and of getting up to go to school. Print out these routines and put them somewhere that your child can easily see them.
To help you talk to your kids about emotionally preparing to go back to school we've provided a list of discussion questions to cover with your child! We think these questions could open up wonderful lines of communication for you and your child.