Getting back into the school routine after summer can be a difficult adjustment for both kids and parents. Here are a few tips in order to make the transition into the new school year go a bit more smoothly:
1. Start transitioning: begin “school mode” sleep schedules a week or two before the first day of school.
While it may be enjoyable to have a relaxed sleep schedule during the summertime, it is important to get sleep schedules back on track before school starts. Begin transitioning back to an earlier bedtime routine at least two weeks before the first day of school.
This proactive effort can lend itself to a smooth transition to the early, bustling morning routines that come each back-to-school season. Without an established earlier bedtime routine, it can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep when the time comes, and we all know this can lead to added stress and moodiness.
2. Collaborate!: Customize a family calendar
Keeping a calendar in a convenient, shared location is a great way to keep track of activities when schedules get busy. Encourage children to discuss and design the schedule. This creates a sense of active engagement (versus passive leading), investment and understanding of roles and an understanding of time management. Ask them to pick a color with which to write their activities. They’ll be more motivated to take notice when they have been involved in the activity; tasks and roles become less “punitive” when there is discussion, collaboration and understanding around the design. Further, a concrete artifact that offers a visual representation for expectations is a beneficial tool for children who struggle with two-step directives, executive functioning, attention-deficit, communication and spectrum disorders, and anxiety. Having a routine and a plan aids families in“knowing what’s next.” This can help decrease miscommunication, unexpected behaviors, and unwarranted stress.
3.Flex their brain muscles: Transition their brains to “learning mode” by visiting educational attractions, such as museums or historical sights.
Sparking curiosity in your kids before it’s time to go back to school is a great way to get them excited to learn. Let them pick educational places to visit based on their interests. Examples of such places could be a zoo or an aquarium, various museums, or even your backyard, by exploring the history of your hometown. Learning new things together is also great family bonding!
4. Bring them shopping for school supplies.
Allowing your kids to choose what supplies they get (within reason, of course) will make them enthusiastic to put them to use. Whether it’s a folder in their favorite color, or pencils with their favorite TV character on them, they will be ready and maybe even excited to go back and show their classmates their new stuff!
5. Designate a “work zone” space in your home for academics.
Giving each kid their own “homework station” can help them to get in the zone and get their work done. Make sure it’s somewhere free of distractions, and give them some freedom to decorate their space or choose where they can focus best. Help kids make sure that work spaces have necessary supplies (like paper, pencils, colored pencils, index cards, etc.) so that they can spend their time there completing their homework instead of searching for supplies!
Final thought: The idea of getting back on schedule and putting their brains to work may be daunting for kids (and parents). Try to make it a positive and fun experience by including them in some of the planning and preparing, using these tips, and by reminding them that this is an exciting time. They will be classroom ready before you know it! If you believe your child could benefit from professional support please contact Compass Social Skills and Counseling, LLC at 774-847-9340 or Info@SocialCompassCounseling.com.
Related resources: https://www.care.com/c/stories/3192/101-back-to-school-tips-for-kids-and-parents/
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