22 Aug Back to School Again: How to Prepare the Kids and Yourself
The cloudless summer sky makes it seem like the warm weather and fun of the season could never come to and end, but the truth is that it does and at the end of August and in early September, school will be waiting to begin again. One of the hardest things for a parent is getting your child excited to rise with the sun and go back to sitting in the classroom for 8 hours a day so the SAVA team has compiled this list of tips and tricks to ease the transition process from summer to schooling.
School Sleeping Schedule
Chances are that your child has been staying up later than a general school night to catch fireflies or toast s’mores and sleeping in until mid-morning, in the better cases. 2 weeks before school starts, begin moving your child’s bed time earlier by 15-30 minutes to ease them into the transition.
And we all know just how much children love going to bed earlier; they view it as a punishment in most cases. Don’t let them! Make it worth it for them to get up in the morning. Throwing open the shades with a hearty “Isn’t it a beautiful day?” and putting on their favorite cartoon or making something tasty (but healthy) to give them a boost first thing is an excellent way to not only set them off to a great start to their day but it will get them into the habit of getting up earlier by supplying them with incentive.
Some nights your child might be too hopped-up to jump back into the school sleeping schedule and forcing them is the worst thing to do. As long as it doesn’t become a habit, occasionally staying up a little late as it gets close to the beginning of their school year isn’t the end of the world. “You cannot expect a child who’s been staying up until eleven to go to bed at nine all at once,” says Dr. Pelayo, a pediatric sleep specialist at the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic in Redwood City, CA. “She’s just going to get frustrated and lie awake.”
“I Don’t Want to go to School!”
The reply “Mommy and Daddy will go to jail if you don’t go to school,” may be true as well as effective but doesn’t get to the root of their issue. Ask them exactly what’s bothering them about school but don’t accept “everything” as an answer. Ask gently and they’ll tell you what the problem is.
“I don’t want summer to end.” Who does? But remind them of all the fun they have at school; friends they haven’t seen, a team or club they were on last year or even a particular subject should put that spark back into them.
“School isn’t cool.” For younger children, you could get by with “What isn’t cool about meeting new people and learning new things?” An older kid may be tougher to crack but you can still get through. Ask if they really hate every minute they spend inside school walls. If it is about looking cool, remind them that they don’t have to be crazy about learning how to divide fractions or write a haiku; just go with the flow and remind them to do their very best because they will regret the opportunities they didn’t seize.
“The work is going to be too hard.” You want to empathisize with them, sometimes it is hard to pick up on a certain subject in school, but remind them that the first month and a half of school is playing catch-up anyway and reassure them that everyone’s brains are adjusting back to the seemingly endless assignments, not just them. If they’re still worried, let them know that you will be there to help them every step of the way and you could even go as far as to offer to get them a tutor; high schoolers will usually tutor for a little spending cash.
“I don’t know who I’ll sit with.” Social worries are one of the biggest causes of anxiety in children but believe it or not there is a lot you can do to ease their stress. Kids receive their schedules before school begins, so take a look and see if any of their friends will be in their classes. If there isn’t anyone, talk about lunch plans and who they could sit with. You could even invite one of their friends over after school to give your child an extra boost or arrange breakfast with your child’s friend and their parent so they get to spend a little time with one of their friends at the beginning of the school day.
Meet the Teacher
Plan to meet the teacher about a week before school begins because once those doors open, it is chaos to get in touch with teachers. Give them a call or send an email to introduce yourself and plan a date to meet in person. Meeting the teacher begins things on a positive note for your child’s school year and gives you the opportunity to inform them of any particular accomodations needed for your child.
And be sure not to forget to go school supply shopping! Who doesn’t look forward to picking out new binders and backpacks? That should get your child into the back to school spirit. If not, try sweetening the deal with some colored gel pens or markers. Remind them that school is a chance to be creative and express themselves.
All the moms here at SAVA hope this article helped to ease some of you and your child’s back to school stress!