Eight tried and true ideas for easing your child back to school from an experienced elementary teacher and mom.
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“Can we start our back to school shopping?” My daughter, Elisabeth, and I were in our local Target the other day to pick up a few things. When I rounded the corner, the entire Back to School section was staring at me. Brightly colored notebooks, neat stacks of lined paper, and patterned folders lined the shelves. Everything kind of school supply you could want, from backpacks to glue sticks, were on display and waiting to be purchased.
It’s still July. Granted, it is the end of July, but it is still summer. It is just too soon.
Or, is it?
Depending on where you live and when your children start school, it may not be too soon.
We have to give our children time to transition back into the routine of school.
It’s like jumping into a frigid pool…sometimes it is better to ease in, rather than jump and experience the shock of the cold.
They will all eventually get into their new routine, but we want to make it as smooth as possible for our students.
As a mom and elementary school teacher, I have found that when children are rested and ready, the change in routine is smoother.
Here are some tried and true ideas for making your child’s back to school transition and routine a little easier…and maybe a little fun!
- Begin reestablishing nighttime routines. Start to reintroduce these routines a few weeks early. There’s nothing like a relaxing bath and a good book before bed. Try to avoid electronics before bed.
- Ease back into bedtimes. If your goal is to have your child in bed by 8:30 on a school night, then start by easing him/her into this routine over the course of a couple of weeks. Begin putting him/her to bed at 9, then 8:45, and eventually 8:30.
- Begin to wake your child up early. Give their internal clocks a chance to readjust. Again, ease back in. If your goal is to have your child awake by 7:30, then begin by waking him/her at 8:00, then 7:45, until they are used to their new wake-up time.
- Have some incentives for waking up early. When my children were young, we had a Back to School (Potluck) Breakfast Party to give them a fun reason to get out of bed. It was the easiest party to throw. Invite a group of your child’s friends (with parents) and/or neighbors. Ask everyone to bring a breakfast food or beverage. Set out some balls, sidewalk chalk, hula hoops, etc. in the yard, and watch the fun begin. It’s a great time for parents and children to socialize!
- Let your child pick out and label their own school supplies. My own daughter, Elisabeth, loves this. She loves to get all of her things ready for school. By choosing what she wants/needs and labeling her own things, she takes ownership over her materials. Lis loves to pack her backpack ahead of time and feel like she is organized and ready to go!
- Begin visiting your child’s school. Take some trips over to the playground. There may be some teachers and staff there beginning to get things ready. It’s always exciting to see familiar faces. Re-acclimate your child to their school surroundings.
- Connect with classmates. Check to see if your child’s school offers a meet & greet or some type of back to school social. If not, try to organize one! Meet some of your child’s new peers at the school playground.
- Continue to foster meaningful learning opportunities. Whether reading, playing a game or making change at a store, look for opportunities to make real-life connections to what your child has learned. For more ideas, read my post, How Parents Can Help Their Children at Home. If you are struggling with helping your child find the correct reading level, please read these simple guidelines to help your child find a “just right” book for reading.
Do you have any ideas that we should add to this list? I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback!
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