Transitioning back to school after a long summer is hard for parents and children alike. Luckily, there are some tricks to helping your child prepare for this big shift in their routine. These tips may even make you jealous that you don't get to go back to school, too!
Get Your Child Excited to Go Back to School
If your child suffers from back-to-school blues, find opportunities to turn their frowns upside down, such as:
- Shopping for school supplies
- Planning their hairstyle for the first day of school
- Asking them to tell you about their favorite memory from last school year
Already feeling overwhelmed by your back to school to-do list? It's okay if you incorporate these activities into little moments throughout your week rather than accomplish everything at once. For instance, when you shop for groceries, stop at the school supplies aisle and let them pick out a new folder, notebook, or art supplies.
Give Your Child Choices
Since your child doesn't have a choice whether or not they go back to the school after summer, many children may feel a sense of helplessness or resentment. By raising your child's sense of autonomy with everyday choices, you can increase their feelings of control and self-esteem as they adjust to going back to school. Some examples include:
- What color their school supplies are
- Which extracurricular activities they want to participate in
- What they want to eat for breakfast before their first day
Keep in mind that the younger a child is, the better to give them two or three options to choose from rather than letting them come up with ideas on their own. Too many options can cause children to feel overwhelmed or anxious.
Take Them to School Before Their First Day
Many schools have an orientation or an open house. Some parents may assume that these events are optional, but orientations prepare your child for the coming year and get them excited about that first day of class. Orientation will help your child:
- Learn where there new classroom will be
- Meet their new teacher
- Understand the layout of their school if they're a new student
Be an Early Bird
We are creatures of habit. If your child is used to waking up in time to get ready for school, that will save everyone a headache when their first day rolls around.
If your child does not naturally like waking up early, consider easing them into the new routine. Wake up fifteen minutes to a half hour earlier each day leading up to the first day of school. You can also incentivize them with their favorite breakfast or activity when they get up.
Practice Common Scripts
What is often called "shyness" in children is often your child not knowing how to act or what to say in new situations. Luckily, you can prepare them with examples.
Pretend to be one of their classmates or their teacher and have a conversation with your child. Give them opportunities to:
- Be kind
- Share their thoughts and belongings
- Engage in good listening
These exchanges are more fun if you allow yourself to let loose, use your imagination, and be silly with your child. You can also prepare them for more complicated scenarios, such as being bullied or dealing with peer pressure.
Be a Good Role Model
Your child is always watching you for what to say, how to act, and what to expect out of an experience. By staying positive and practicing good habits, your child will be more likely to emulate a good attitude and good behaviors. Remember to:
- Eat healthy foods
- Get enough exercise
- Wake up in time to get ready and go to school
- Get enough sleep
Taking care of yourself will also lower stress levels during the transition back to school. As we all know: a little patience and a smile can go a long way.