Regardless of whether their summer days were filled with fun activities, vacations or complaints about having nothing to do, children sometimes have a tough time going back to school. As you may have experienced yourself, even parents will tell you they have mixed emotions about their little darlings going back to school. It’s even more heart wrenching if it’s first time, watching your little preschooler walk into the classroom, a backpack in hand that looks impossibly large. The following tips will help you both make the transition into new school days.
Ease into It
Ease yourself and the kids into scheduled school days. For an easier transition, a week or so before the big day, start their bedtime routines about 15 minutes earlier every night, waking them up 15 minutes earlier each morning, until they’re finally back on track. You’ll have a mess on your hands if the kids don’t make the shift from late nights to an early bedtime. You’ll have a grumpy youngster to deal with (and one that’s impossible to wake up) when they have to rush out to the morning school bus after not getting enough sleep.
Back to School Jitters
If your child is nervous about going to school, gently remind them that they’re more than likely not going to be the only one feeling that way on the first day of school. Pointing out the positive points of starting or going back to school can also create positive anticipation for a child. Mention the fact that they’ll be able to meet new friends and see old friends they didn’t get to spend time with over the summer. If possible, it’s really helpful if you can find another child in your neighborhood that yours can ride the bus or walk to school with. Teachers already know that students are often nervous at first and good ones put in the extra effort to ensure that everybody feels as at ease as possible. If your child is going to a new school, see if it offers orientations, which also gives you a chance to tour the school before the first day.
Research has shown that children that eat a nutritious breakfast have more energy, better concentration and do better in school so make sure your child starts their days off right. When it comes to the school’s lunchtime offerings, find out what is served in the cafeteria, vending machines, etc. Supposedly, foods sold during the school day are required to meet the nutrition standards established by the USDA (US Department of Agriculture). That said what is considered good nutrition varies from person to person. Find out if your child’s school stocks healthy choices like low-fat dairy, fresh fruit, 100% fruit juice, water, etc. If you’re not happy with the school’s cafeteria options, pack your child’s lunch choosing healthier options.
One on One Time
This might seem like a tough tip for busy parents, especially when your days consist of being the “carpool” queen, but make it a point to fit in some “one on one” time with your youngster every day, even if it’s only 20 minutes. Whether it involves quietly playing with your preschooler, peacefully reading a book together, or star gazing with your 13-year-old after the younger tots have been put to bed, your children will appreciate your undivided attention.
Instill Confidence Building Skills
Last but not least, instill skills that will help nurture independence and build confidence at school, especially if it’s their first time. For example, if you have young children preparing for their first day of school, ahead of time, have them practice tying their shoes, writing their name. have them pick out their own backpack and lunch box, pack them for school – let them be a part of the process. The transition to school will be a lot easier on the child and boost their self-confidence if they can manage basic needs without depending on an adult.
Now take a deep breath, put a smile on your face and help your youngster get the most out of their “back to school” experience using these tips.