Summer break is drawing to an end, and with it come a flood of emotions for everyone involved – parents, students, and teachers alike. We’ve put together a list of things that can help ease the transition as much as possible!
Bedtime Boot Camp is a must! Start a bedtime and morning routine now to help your child adjust to the school year schedule. There’s a good chance they might fight you a little bit on this after a summer full of staying up and sleeping in but holding your ground is going to pay off big time on that first day of school!
Speaking of the first day of school, outfits are a huge deal for some kids. Take the time to pick out the first week’s outfits out in advance so there are not meltdowns over clothes on a school morning! Even if your child wears a uniform, this will give them time to really plan out every detail that’s important to them, especially if they like accessorizing.
Let them be involved with picking out their school supplies. It helps get them excited about the new school year and also gives them a sense of pride when they pull out that fun binder or smell-good pen you said yes to! And in a way, their supplies can be a reflection of their personality.
Remind your child that growing up is good. Yes, there’s a part of us as parents wants them to stay little forever but we all know that’s just not going to happen. Their bodies aren’t the only thing that’s growing, so are their minds, hearts, and personalities. They’re discovering new things about the world and themselves, let’s embrace that! Encourage them and help them be excited about everything that is going to unfold this school year – from new friends and new knowledge to fun field trips and gym class (assuming it’s not your child’s least favorite class!)
Healthy and balanced breakfasts and lunches make a big difference in a child’s performance at school. No one can concentrate with a growling stomach so while pop tarts in the car are our saving grace on those mornings you’re more rushed than normal, try to be intentional about getting them the nutrition they need to not only grow physically but mentally as well! Here’s a couple links to some great ideas if you’re struggling on what to make: https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/breakfast.html https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/school-lunches.html?ref=search Bonus tip: write a little note or put a small surprise in their lunch box to remind them how much you love them, how they’re going to ace that math test, or how awesome they are! The encouragement goes a long way.
Designate a spot for homework and studying. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just somewhere free of distractions so they can concentrate and make it a priority.
Introduce yourself to the teacher. Maybe you got to meet them at meet-the-teacher night or maybe you got stuck at work, either way connecting with their teacher is a great way to be involved in your child’s education. Maintain that connection by checking in every couple weeks so you can be made aware of any areas your child might need a little extra help from you!
If evenings are chaos, mornings are worse. Make sure your child has completed all of their homework and put everything they need back in their backpack before bed. Have them put their bag by the door the night before so it’s ready to grab and go in the morning.
For the parents of older students, look at their syllabus with them. If you find that they’re struggling or really stressed about the learning part of school, research class topics beforehand and help them keep up with homework!
We all love to look forward to something or work towards something, especially when that something is a thing we love! For example, pick a way you’re going to celebrate when the first report cards come out. Maybe it’s sleeping on the trampoline or going to your favorite place – pick something that will encourage them to push through and to do well! Rewards aren’t bribes, don’t confuse them! Rewards are thought out and expected behavior/grades are clearly outlined, and your child realizes that if that expectation isn’t met, the reward doesn’t happen. Bribes are normally spontaneous to get your child to do/not do something and can create a false sense of entitlement for good behavior. By implementing a rewards program early on you get better long-lasting results. That’s not to say you can’t do a surprise special treat after they aced a pop quiz or got through a tough week!
Lastly, it’s normal to be nervous about school and your social life but if at any point you think your child’s nerves or stress about it might not be at a normal or healthy level, talk to them and their teachers! Ask them to be specific about what is making them feel this way so you can help them get through it, and be aware that sometimes they might need help from someone else too. Is it the academics? Are they struggling with a subject you can’t help them with? It might be time to hire a tutor – their teacher may be available before or after school to help out or be able to recommend someone who can. Is it the social aspect? Be specific in your questions and make sure there aren’t deeper underlying or ongoing issues that need to be addressed. Is your child going through big changes at home? Recognize and acknowledge that by encouraging them to talk to you or someone else they can trust. We all have different strengths and weaknesses and there is NOTHING wrong with needing a little extra help. Help them reflect back on another time in their life or tell them about a time in your own life where you were in a similar place and tell them what helped you or what you wish you had done differently. Remind them that life can be tough, but so are they!
We are wishing you and yours a happy, fun, and learning-filled 2019-2020 school year!