Summer is almost over! The cicadas are buzzing, the sunblock is running low, and the children are groaning in anticipation of their return to school. The transition from the relaxed atmosphere of summer break to the structured environment of school can be a stressful time for adults and children. Here are fifteen suggestions to help make the switch easier.
- Read a book to warm up your brain. Select a book your child will enjoy reading. Discuss what they read each day. It’s a fun way to prepare them for the studies ahead.
- Slowly adjust to the school schedule. A week before school starts, have your child go to bed and wake up ten minutes earlier each day. This will allow them to return the school-year sleep schedule in a gentle, stress-free manner.
- Create a summer adventure journal. Have your child draw pictures or write about what they did over the summer. Then ask your child to share the journal with you. Once school starts, the journal provides another fun activity as your child shares her summer activities with friends.
- Plan a fun and educational trip. Take your child to a museum or other culturally expanding events. It’s a fun way to help your child shift focus back to education.
- Plan a shopping safari. Turn the buying of school supplies into a game. Make a list of items your child will need and then award points for being the first to spot an item in the store.
- Look at the school calendar and discuss important dates. Point out events you know your child will be excited about. Let her help make the holiday plans for the family.
- Schedule play dates. Plan for when your child will visit friends during the first couple of weeks of school. This lets your child know that her friends aren’t going away and she will see them again.
- Extra parent time. Spending a little more time with your child will help her feel more secure about the changes ahead. Cuddle, tell stories, or have a tickle fight. Pick an activity that your child likes.
- Be excited. Talk about events you liked when you were in school. Use positive language to reinforce your upbeat attitude about going back to school.
- Have a back-to-school discussion. Talk with your child about how they feel about going back to school. Address any concerns they have. This may tip you off to a problem you didn’t know existed.
- Plan for family time. By establishing a set time for family fun once school starts, your child won’t worry about being forgotten.
- Designate an official homework space. This establishes expectations and makes it easier to form a routine that encourages study.
- Pack school bags ahead of time. This eliminates surprises by making sure your child has everything on the list and that it fits inside the bag.
- Set clocks forward. The day before school starts, set the clocks forward by 10 minutes. This sets a goal for when your child needs to be ready while providing a safety net to reduce the stress on the first day.
- Have an end of summer celebration. Schedule a party for the Saturday before school starts. Incorporate activities that will celebrate summer. Your child may be so excited about the party that she forgets about school starting so soon.
Try these suggestions and see which ones work best for your family. They may not make back-to-school your child’s favorite time of year, but they should improve the experience.