Summer flew by, and now it’s time to begin preparing your children for back-to- school. The most important item on your checklist to help your child succeed with school routine is to slowly begin structuring their free time during the day. A relaxed summer has been important for your child’s emotional and physical development, but waking much earlier will be a lot easier for your child if you slowly begin your day’s activities earlier in the two weeks prior to school’s start.
While preparing for back-to-school may be exciting, it can also be a stressful time. Setting an earlier bedtime for your child and offering them time in the evening to talk with you is an important way to reduce this stress. As a parent, you want to be the first person your child turns to if they struggle with a concern or fear about the upcoming school year. The following five suggestions can help you prepare your child for a successful school year.
1. Create a morning routine with your child. After a summer break, waking and preparing for the school day is a challenging transition for most children. To boost their confidence, help them organize school supplies, choose their outfits the evening prior, and pack their lunches. Use this time as a teaching moment to mentor the necessity of a healthy breakfast, and encourage them to make good choices by providing the healthy foods they need to learn and grow.
2. Set goals to limit screen time. Over the summer, your kids may have accessed their screens all day every day. Discuss with them which ones are most distracting for them, and set goals to limit time on screens. Choose an alternative activity, such as reading, that will help them excel in class. You can support them by rewarding books read throughout the year. This a wonderful way for parents to engage with their kids and talk about what they’re learning.
3. Create a home study area with your child. Allow your child to create a space in your home conducive to studying. While completing homework, set a rule requiring phones to be stored in a separate room. Encourage your child design their own Do Not Disturb sign to be placed on their door during homework hours. When parents take study time seriously and respect their child’s need for assistance and quiet, kids learn their parents value their education.
4. Schedule family dinners. School is your child’s social scene, which can be stressful. By sharing what happened during the day with the family over dinner, your child feels emotionally supported. Family dinners are also a wonderful opportunity for parents to insist their child help with chores such as meal preparation and setting the table, allowing them to feel included in helping the family thrive. Kids need to know their actions matters.
5. Institute a bedtime check-in. In weeks before school, begin the bedtime routine by checking-in with your child. By listening to their concerns, you communicate to you child how much you love them. Your advice is not as necessary as your presence and willingness to take their concerns seriously. Kids don’t always tell us what they’re feeling, but parents who take the time to check-in will find their children more open to share. As a parent, you want to be the first, not last, person to know when your child is stressed, anxious or depressed. This check-in will become one of yours (and your child’s) favorite ways to end the school day - feeling close and loved.
Summer is incredibly short, and when you look back, the school years fly by as well. The effort parents put into preparation for the school year helps their child make a smoother transition, allowing them to devote more time to their studies. Creating a safe and secure place where their child can study, learn, and grow in the upcoming school year is an important parental responsibility. Children living in homes that value education respect and value it as well.