Saying goodbye to summer isn't the easiest thing for school-aged kids to do, and if we're being honest, transitioning back into the school season can be a tough adjustment for parents as well. As back-to-school time approaches, keep the following tips in mind to help prepare your kids – and the entire household – for the new school year.
- Start easing your kids back into their regular school year sleep schedule at least two or three weeks before school starts. Try to make the transition as smooth as possible by gradually waking them up earlier and earlier during this time. Ideally, preschoolers should get at least 11-12 hours of sleep a night, while school-age and teenage children will need about 10 hours of shut-eye to perform at their best during the school day.
- As you well know, the school year brings with it several extracurricular activities that can take your schedule from zero to jam-packed in no time flat. Create a family calendar to help you keep track of all of the various school-related events, deadlines, meetings, sports practices, games, field trips, PTO functions ... you get the point. Try to post the calendar in a place is accessible to all family
members,so that nobody will be in the dark regarding what's happening on a given day.
- Find out from the school what type of classroom supplies will be needed, so that you won't waste precious family budget dollars on extraneous school supplies. Once you've nailed down your list, take advantage of tax-free weekends and other back-to-school sales events to snag these much-needed supplies at discount prices.
- Schedule a time for you and your child(ren) to take a tour of the school and meet their new teacher. This is particularly important if your child is going to a new school. Giving them the opportunity to familiarize themselves with their new surroundings will often help ease some of the nerves that come along with this new phase of their school life.
- Do a couple of "dry runs" of your morning routine so that you can get a feel for how long it will take to pack lunches, drive to the school (or walk to the bus stop), etc. Keep in mind that it almost always takes longer than you think due to the many unexpected variables that can pop up during a typical school morning – e.g., forgotten homework, a missing book bag, lunch-packing disasters, etc.
Without a doubt, preparation is one of the golden keys to successfully transitioning into the school year, but don't forget to include a healthy dose of encouragement for your kids. Although some of the challenges of the new school year will be unavoidable, your children will be that much more prepared to overcome them when they know that you've got their back. When you combine your positive affirmation with the handy tips outlined above, your whole family can enter into the new school season with a greater level of ease and confidence!