7 Things to Do Before Your Child Heads Back to School
Starting a new school year can be tough because it’s a big change from summer vacation. Luckily we have some tips to help you and your family before the first bell rings!
Try these ideas to help prepare your child for going back to school.
At Home Routines
Try getting into normal school routines a few weeks before school actually starts. Have your child go to bed and wake up at the time they would during the school year. Having consistent bed time and breakfast routines will help your child feel a sense of stability and establish a routine as others things are changing.
Charts or lists can help get kids on track with routines. To-do lists are sometimes thought of as something only adults use, but some kids can benefit from having a list of things they are expected to do each day. Making a chart with tasks written out or with pictures can help children see what is expected of them and help to organize their day.
Making the bed, eating breakfast, brushing their teeth, and getting their backpack with homework inside can all be items or pictures added to the chart. You can choose to organize this chart by representing each day separately or by week. Placing the tasks in order from morning to night, or even having a separate chart for the different times of day, can also help your child get familiar and comfortable with their morning and night time routines. There are lots of examples online of charts that use pictures so don’t feel like you have to create your own from scratch.
Eating lunch in a cafeteria might be a new experience if this is the first year they’re eating at school. So let them get used to their lunchbox, go on a picnic (this is also a great chance to get outside) as a test run for school.
Pack healthy lunches together the night before and try to give your child options when possible. Consider creating a “lunch station” in your pantry, where kids can pick out granola bars or other snacks to add to their lunch. The same setup can be made in the fridge if you make bags of fruits or veggies to take to school for the week.
Eating together at the dinner table may also help if this has not been a part of your summer routine. Not only is this great family time, but it is good practice for staying seated at the table like they will need to do during lunch at school.
Even if your child is going back to the same school, it is still going to be different. So talk with your child about their new teacher and different expectations that may come with moving up a grade in school. You can even drive by the school to give them a visual reminder of where they will be going.
If your child is going to a new school this is also a great way to make your child feel comfortable and give them a chance to see what it looks like. Ask them how they are feeling about the change and if there is anything they are worried about.
Use School Supplies
Going shopping for school supplies can be a great way to get excited about starting school, but actually using them can help too. Try making crafts involving markers, glue, scissors, and other materials they will use in school. The more practice they get with using these fine motor skills not only helps their development, but also helps boost their confidence and ease some worries.
When you do crafts or activities be sure to emphasize that putting materials away where they belong is an important final step. After all, this will be their responsibility in the classroom!
Reading is great for development and they will likely have story time at school. Practice sitting still and keeping hands to themselves while you read aloud. Visit your local library and see if they have story time for even better practice! Your little one will get used to hearing a different voice read aloud to them and being in a group setting.
With the start of school, comes the start of many extracurricular activities. Talk to them and see what they would be most interested participating in. It’s great to let your child try different things and learn what they enjoy most. It can be tiring going to a full day school for the first time, so you may want to wait a couple of weeks before signing your child up for additional activities. Not all kids need this time for a break so consider your child’s comfort first.
Think of fall for students as Mondays for adults, some people are exhausted by the end of the day, and others look as if they still have a lot of energy left. But if your child is enrolled in activities and you’re worried they are becoming too much, read our post on how many extracurricular activities is too many.
Make it quick! Keep goodbyes short and then leave.
Hanging around to try to comfort your little one drags out the goodbye, making it harder on everyone. Your child starting a new year of school can be a reminder of how quickly they are growing up, but try your best not to get emotional in front of them. You know they will be fine but if they see you cry, they will think there is something to be scared about and may get nervous.
As summer winds down it is important to focus on the excitement that comes with a new school year. Using these suggestions to get back in the swing of things before classes begin will get the year started on the right foot. There are many things to look forward to when starting a new year, and keeping a positive attitude is key for a successful school year!