Ugh…back to school soon! We LOVE our summers and this summer did not disappoint. We were able to spend days at our friends’ pools, at the ocean, on the river, in Nebraska at a lake cabin where water skiing and wakeboarding were on the agenda, plus a fun time seeing new and interesting things in the New England area. We were also fortunate enough to spend time in the Rocky Mountains hiking and summer Alpine tubing. I don’t know what more we could have filled our wonderful summer time fun with. Oh, yes, I can’t forget the hours at swimming lessons, nor can I forget the summer camps with baseball, soccer, and basketball. Oh my! Yet, the long, “relaxing” days of summer are soon coming to an end, as I am sure you are all aware. If you are like me, I must ask where did the time go? How can summer fly so quickly by? From wearing swimming suits to transitioning to carrying backpacks are only a few days away. Gone are the days filled with questions on what to do next and will be the days that are planned down to the minute. Here we go!
So with that sharp realization in mind, it is time to get ready for back to school. With four kids, these following ideas about making the transition from summer to school will be heeded. Granted, my littlest one is not even two so he will be home with me except for the two days a week that he gets to go to preschool. (Oh, how exciting that will be!) I am excited to see his interaction with the other little ones. My next oldest is going to be a first grader, so he is quite experienced with the whole school scene after an amazing kindergarten year. My spunky oldest son is going to be a fourth grader and how time truly flies to even say that. He is not an early riser so transition hints that may make the beginning of his fourth-grade year smoother will be of great help. And, then my oldest, who will be a sixth-grader, is in middle school. She is always up for new things and she is quite the helper in getting her little brothers to be on the same page. In any case with four kids, and with their respective responsibilities and grade levels, having that first day of school prepared for will be critical.
Back to School Helpful Steps
It is truly a transition from summer to school for the entire family but it must be made. Ways to transition into the school year are important and are steps that will make going back to school much smoother and easier for all. So far I have come up with these transitory steps:
- Gradually adjust the schedule of summer. So long to the long, late nights and hello instead to early mornings. If you ease into this new time change two or three weeks by maybe ten minutes a day, all will be thankful and the change won’t be nearly as shocking. Check your school calendars to see what the elementary students’ school day, as well as the older students’ school day, will look like as far as start and end times. Simply start going to bed earlier, waking up earlier and even serving meals about the same time, as when school is in session, will prove to be helpful. Of course, plan around all the extra activities that may be a part of this.
- These weeks before is a good time to set up play dates with kids in your child’s class so reconnection can be made prior to school’s opening. This idea will also solidify friendships before school actually begins as well.
- Another idea that is always positive is allowing each of your children to select one of his or her favorite activities to do before summer ends. He or she should be allowed to plan the entire day. A cool addendum to this is you and your child plan this day, but keep it a secret from the others and just let them be a part of the special day as it unfolds.
- Organize before you school shop. Get rid of any old, outgrown clothes. Make sure lunch options and snacks are available and easy. Set up and reorganize a place, free of distractions for each child to do homework. Make a homework plan including a plan to review homework together. Also, plan that all-important first day of school outfit.
- Fun day (at least one day) should be planned for back to school shopping. This day can be exciting. From new clothes to maybe new lunch boxes, or even backpacks will be a day to make your child eager to start school. Don’t forget to check your school’s individual classroom school supply list to make sure you have everything that your child is asked to have before that all-important first day. Also very important is to make sure you have school supplies at home in an organized spot. Scissors, colors, papers, markers, erasers, pencils, rulers are all good ideas to have for those times when your child may need them to complete homework. Plan on getting these with your child on your fun shopping day(s).
- Online shopping can be a great way to find lots of deals! I use the app Honey to score all sorts of coupons and deals without searching for each site. Have you heard of it? Try it out!
- Take time to address any anxiety your child may be feeling about going back to school. Talk about the new experiences, and perhaps even bring in how you felt, as a child… a few years ago, in many of the same or similar situations. Reassure them.
- Keep abreast of when the school may be having orientation days before the actual school start date. Meeting their teacher or teachers in advance will make everyone feel more comfortable when the first day commences.
- Make sure you have all documentation ready for those first days. This, of course, includes any medical documentation and papers, especially if your child will be participating in any type of sports activity. Make sure too that you have their immunization records up to date. You may want to call your child or children’s schools beforehand to find out if there is something special you may need.
- Rehearse the first day. This may seem odd but it really isn’t a bad idea at all. The morning routine is really all that you may want to practice but knowing where lunch boxes, backpacks, jackets, books etc are and will be is important to go over. When your child can predict that first-morning routine, and what is coming next, competency and cooperation follow. In addition, stress is diminished and replaced with positive thoughts.
- If you have been reading and doing little homework activities throughout the summer and as I discussed in a previous blog, a good, quick concept review is a great idea but then quit doing these activities about a week before going back to school. Finish up the week before and then just relax that last week with other non-related school activities.
- And, last but not least, Breathe. All will be in full swing before you know it and things will soon fall into place…especially fall into place smoothly if you have been doing these transitory hints. Just think summer is only ten months away… with let’s see …when is the next holiday break? Ah, summer, you go by so quickly. However, we have got this school year under control, don’t we?
What are your best tips? Share with us in the comments, I would love to hear them!