Back to School; Prep is everything

Now is the time of summer to begin preparing for the kiddo’s to return to school. Rules relax, bedtimes get pushed back, and balanced diets go haywire….summer sometimes becomes very relaxed, as it should be! We all need a break, this includes school age children. Preparing for back to school is a process that involves more than shopping for supplies, it’s important to have some focus on the return to routine. This is often easier when it is gradual, so let’s look at a few things your family can start this week to help make the transition back to school a little smoother.

Ø  Start moving that bedtime back. Especially if your child is hard to wake up and get moving in the morning. Best practice is to move bedtime earlier a little bit each night in the weeks leading up to the first day of school. Get into a bedtime routine that is done each night in preparation for sleep – brush teeth, wash face, put on PJ’s, read quietly in low light for 20 minutes etc.

Ø  Make small TO DO lists. Research shows that our brain does a little happy dance when we’re able to check something off of a To Do list. Help your kiddo make a small, very specific (2-3 item) list of things that need to get done before the first day of school. Examples of To Do list items: 1) Try on all of your shoes, make one pile in your bedroom of shoes that do not fit, and one pile of shoes that still fit 2) Throw away trash and last year’s papers from inside your backpack

Ø  Make a few school visits. For younger kiddo’s I mean this literally, driving by the school to acclimate your kiddo with how long it takes to get to school, what the building looks like etc. For older kids, a school drive by is less necessary. Some schools offer back to school prep programs, these are great, especially for students moving to a new building (elementary to middle school or middle to high school) or those starting a new school all together. Check out your schools website to see what is offered during back to school time.

Ø  Break out the flashcards. Now is the time to find some workbooks, activities or flashcards to help get your student’s minds ready to return to the classroom. Designate some time each day to sit down and practice last years learned skills. Educational trips can be used to awaken your student’s curiosity, plan a trip to a local museum or historical site.

Ø  Talk it out. During dinner or in the car, have a conversation about how they’re feeling about going back to school. Talk about first day jitters and the peak and the pit of last school year. What are they most excited to do this coming year? Is there anything they’re dreading? Is there anything different/special that your student will get to do this upcoming year? Listen to their responses, encourage their honesty.

Getting students ready to begin school again needs to be a slow process, they need time to readjust and ease back into a set schedule, longer days, and…..math (sorry math teachers). How do you help your student prepare for the beginning of school? Leave your ideas in the comment section below!