Going back to school is always a time of adjustment. However, it isn’t just the kids that can have a hard time handling the change of schedule and increase in commitments. Parents can also have a difficult time.
I always struggle with change and the kids returning to school. Summer is a season of fun for us, and settling back into the routine of getting up early, packing lunches, and studying is faced with dread. However, it is a necessary evil that we all must accept.
To help ease the transition from summer vacation to school, I have written up some tips that hopefully everyone in the family can benefit from:
Tips for helping the kids:
- Don’t let the kids stay up super-late that last week of summer. I know you may be tempted to squeeze in every last minute of fun (I am very guilty of that), but structure needs to be reintroduced before school starts so that the first day of school is not a killer.
- Make sure all books/supplies are bought well in advance so there isn’t a last minute rush to Staples the day before school starts. (Not to mention you will probably miss all the ‘before school’ sales that are going on right now if you wait too long.)
- If your child is headed to middle school or high school, see if you can access the school before the first day. This is especially helpful if your child already has their schedule. One huge anxiety about school is getting from class-to-class, so if you can show your child ahead of time that it can be done, it should ease some of their worries on the first day of school.
- Have an electronics-free study space designated for each child. Have your child help design his or her own study space, which will hopefully get your child a little more interested in settling in and doing their homework when the time comes. I know so many kids that do their homework near a computer, which is a recipe for disaster. (Unless they are writing a paper, obviously.) The temptation of Facebook is so great that many kids only focus on homework for a few minutes at a time because they are constantly looking at Facebook updates. (Or Twitter, or whatever social media they are into at the moment.)
Tips For Parents:
- If you are a stay at home parent, you too may need to adjust your schedule ahead of time and start getting to bed earlier. (That would be me…) You don’t want that first day of school to be started with crabbiness and rushing because you didn’t get enough sleep!
- Involve your kids in lunch planning and preparing. Unless your kids are incredibly young, they can help pack lunches. As a side note, I highly recommend packing lunches instead of buying a school lunch. Packing a lunch is cheaper, and most likely healthier- unless you consider Doritos a main course at your house.
- Be extra patient those first couple weeks of school. If you are feeling any anxiety about your child growing up and heading off to school, imagine how nervous they must feel. Combine anxiety with less sleep and the general rigors of school, and your child may not be at their best. Even if they are really crabby, just take a deep breath. Your child may not even understand why they feel the way they do. So, just give them a snack and have a chat instead of losing your temper.
- Get everyone up early enough so there is plenty of time to get everything done calmly in the morning. (Including eating a healthy breakfast.) It ruins everyone’s day when mom or dad is just barking orders and rushing out the door.
- Pack all uniforms, homework, etc the night before. This will hopefully reduce the number of times you are forced to run up to the school to hand in a forgotten permission slip or whatever was needed that day.
- If you are a stay at home parent, try to get as many of the household things done during the day while the kids are at school. Kids can be pretty needy those first couple weeks, so try to be as available as possible. If you drive your kids to school, it is a great time to connect with them since they are a captive audience in the car. So, take advantage and find out what really went on with their day. I have found that I get so much more out of the conversation if I ask specific questions than if I just ask ‘how was your day’.
Do you have any back to school tips? If so, please leave a comment! I hope everyone enjoys the remaining days of summer vacation!!