Tips To Help The Kids Transition Back To School
Summer is almost over! Whether you are silently celebrating or silently mourning, helping to transition your kids back into school mode is a big assignment. What is the best way to help our kids go from no-bed-time, fun-all-the-time summer vacation calmness back into school and learning? It can be tough, but here are some tips for helping your kids transition back to school.
Restart a Sleep Schedule
This will affect the kids in middle school and high school the most (assuming you’ve kept a moderate bedtime for the little ones), but it does apply to everyone. A few weeks before school picks up, start abiding by a specific bedtime with all of your kids. Children and young adults need to get a decent amount of sleep in order to be productive. If the kids aren’t quite ready for sleep at the new bedtime, think about allowing them 20-30 minutes to read, in bed, with a flashlight or desk light. No getting out of bed or electronics, but an activity that will help them settle their minds while their bodies get ready for sleep.
With kids in high school, they generally know that they need a certain amount of sleep to be comfortable, but they may or may not be ready to follow a schedule. Since it varies so much from person to person, you’ll want to talk with your teen and see what works for both of you. If they say that they only need 6 hours of sleep, try it out and see if they’re actually performing well on that amount. If not, step in and try to enforce an earlier sleep time. If they fight a “bedtime,” try to work with them. Most people know when they are dragging (including teens), so the fight will likely not be one that lasts very long. Do what works best for you, your kids and your family as a whole.
Set the Expectations
When going back to school, ask your kids what their goals are for the year. Make a fun game out of it with a whiteboard and magnetic pieces or a hand-made chart that they can draw on to help track their achievements over time.
Do they want to play a sport? Do they want to learn an instrument? Maybe they want to try for straight A’s. Whatever the case, have expectations set early and create a fun system to track them, making sure that your own expectations are reasonable and not steadfast. Set goals and help your kids achieve them. This can also be a valuable lesson in what is achievable quickly and what might take more time. Make sure to be “in it” with them (or their biggest cheerleader!) and they’ll greatly appreciate the engagement.
Help your younger kids get into the groove of doing some homework even before you send them back to school. There are many free printable worksheets available online (Google the subject along with “free worksheet”) that will give your children a refresher. Also, have them read, read, read. The library is your friend and always available to you and your children. They carry everything from ebooks to graphic novels these days, so there are far more varieties than ever before. If you prefer to own your books, there are fantastic sales and cheap Kindle books available on Amazon.
For those kids who need some assistance with reading, Readability is an excellent personal tutor. This program reads to your child, listens while they read, and provides feedback. Fantastic for building confidence.
Once your kids are back in school, try to set a normal time for homework and do your best to stick to it. Kids are creatures of habit, so if they know what to expect out of each day, the more likely they are to go along with the plan and get the homework done.
Get the Shopping Done
While back to school shopping can be a bit of a cliché, it’s also extremely necessary. Most schools ask parents to shop for school supplies before the school year begins, so be sure to print out those lists now. Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Target, and Office Depot are excellent options for getting your best prices, so start there. Each week will bring different sale options and you can attempt to get the best price on different items each week if you start your shopping early enough. Don’t be afraid to go to two or three of the stores on the list to take advantage of the lowest price items at each store! If you can’t find something that you need (i.e. an orange notebook or a specific calculator), Amazon is a great option for those extraneous supplies.
In addition to school supplies, many kids have grown out of their fall and winter clothes from the year before and will need the next size up. Take advantage of sales, coupons and online options to get the most for your money. Read much more about how to find back to school outfits on a budget to get going in the right direction.
One Last Hurrah
Before school starts, try to have one last minor celebration. Whether it means taking them out for ice cream the weekend before classes begin or spending 20 minutes coloring a picture together, take a little time to be with your kids. Let them tell you how they feel about the upcoming school year and remind them how much you love them. The kids are about to be back in a schedule of seeing you for less hours of the day, and what may seem like a small effort from you will provide additional security for them.
Do you have any tips for helping your kids transition back to school? I’d love to hear them! Let me know what you think and have a happy rest of your summer!