Going back to school after the long summer is always a time of excitement. While your children may be overly excited or even a little bit worried about new teachers, new subjects and meeting their friends, the days before starting school again are always busy and stressful. Instead of rolling into school with no plan, we have compiled ten tips that will help to keep organized, create routines and support children to be their best at school.
Use a calendar: Your children will be better prepared for school when they can visually see when school will start again. A good idea is to hang a calendar in their room and let them mark off each day with a colorful pen until the new school year starts.
Start bedtime routines early: Children will need some time to get back to the sleeping pattern that they had before the summer holidays started. To make it easier for the kids to be awake early in the morning, parents can introduce the school sleep routine two weeks before school starts.
Back-to-school shopping: Pick a date to go school shopping with your children. This date should be set and organized some time in advance to have a relaxed shopping experience. Choosing their own school supplies, clothes, a backpack, or lunchboxes will engage children to take part in the activity and may increase their excitement about going back to school and using all the new things.
Make the unknown environment more familiar: If your children are worried about the fact that they will start school in a new environment such as having a new classroom or being taught by a new teacher, ask the school if you can go on a tour. Let your child see the new classroom and ask if it is possible to meet the new teachers. Going on a tour will help the kids to become more familiar with the new place. It is also a good idea to have a conversation with them about all the positive aspects at school such as their favorite subject and the activities they love at school.
Prepare lunchboxes and keep them easy: Studies show that pupils who have breakfast function better at school and have more energy. In advance, ask your children about healthy food that they like to take to school. Maybe your child likes fruits or vegetables which you can pack as well as a healthy sandwich. You can also have a look at the school’s cafeteria and see if it offers healthy snack options.
Find a ‘go-to-school friend’: If your child walks or takes the bus to school and there are other children in the neighborhood who go to the same school talk to the parents and ask them if the kids can walk or take the bus together. This way the kids will have more fun on their way to school and may share their worries and help each other to feel more comfortable going back to school.
Talk about homework: Children who understand the topics at school properly have more fun at school. Usually, good quality homework is key to understand topics and achieve good grades. Review the environment where your child does his or her homework: Is it quiet enough? Is there enough space? Besides the environment, it is also important to think about activities and Internet or TV usage. Do your children have enough time to do their homework and are they not distracted?
Deal with expectations: Older children will already have set themselves expectations they want to fulfill at school. Therefore, it is helpful to ask them what they expect about returning to school. It can help to read a story about children who go to school to start the conversation and to make it easier for kids to talk about their feelings. It is also important to ask kids if they have any questions or are unsure about anything. Let them know that other kids will be nervous as well and that teachers will help them to feel more comfortable.
Show them that you think about them: When getting lunch or a snack ready for school include a little note in the lunchbox to show your kids that you care and that you think about them during the day even if they are away.
Childcare after school: A parent should be at home to help the kids to get ready for school in the morning and who supervise them when they return. If this is not possible talk to your children that it is important to follow rules and listen to the adult supervising them.