All too soon, the bell will ring and it will be time to go back to school. It’s important to slowly transition your child back into a routine to help prepare him or her for starting school.
But before that happens, slow down for a moment and spend a few mornings or even full days with your son or daughter aimlessly enjoying the summer—reading the funnies over bowls of cereal, playing with bubbles, or having a barbecue. Take a breather to remind your son or daughter of how wonderful their break has been, even having them list all the fun things they did. If your child is nervous about the first day back, you can encourage him or her by sharing that soon he or she will be learning new and exciting things, going on field trips, and meeting new friends.
If your son or daughter has had a pretty lax schedule during the summer, this is the time to start introducing the idea of going to bed and waking up early. Hopefully, you have tried to keep the routine relatively the same throughout the summer for the entire family, but if not, it should only take about one or two weeks before classes start for your child to become accustomed to the new routine. If your son or daughter is younger, reading a bedtime story right before bed will help establish the routine. Regardless of age, start moving bedtimes and wake-up times a littler earlier each day so that by the time school starts, your child is ready for the new routine.
Many times, as parents, we are so concerned with preparing for school—and the new schedules and routines that come with it—that we may forget to address the emotional aspect of going back to school. Addressing these concerns can help your child prepare for a new social routine at school.
Talk openly about peer pressure, being friendly with new students, and communicating honestly with you throughout the school year. You can say things like, “What if there is a new girl in your class, and no one is talking to her at recess? What can you do to make her feel welcome?” You can also turn the question around such as, “What if you were the new student? How would you feel?” These enduring lessons will remain in your child’s memory long after the new jeans have faded.
By preparing your child for school both physically, emotionally, and socially, he or she will settle more easily into a successful academic routine, too.