Back to School: Make the Transition an Easy One
With September comes what is to some is the most wonderful time of year — when parents can give a sigh of relief as children, teens and young adults head back to school. The preparation can be hectic, but it can go much smoother if parents are prepared. To make it work, you have to start early.
A week or more before school starts
Summer often means softening up the rules and making bedtimes and meal times a bit more flexible. The days are longer and children tend to stay up later. Teens set their own rhythm, sometimes sleeping in late and skipping meals with the family. But once September hits, kids lives are back to being governed by the school bell.
To make the change-over easier, particularly for younger children and those heading off to school for the first time, do a mock up of the school day. Do the following:
- Send the children to bed at an appropriate time, and make sure they have a system of waking up – you or an alarm clock
- Prepare breakfast as you would for a school day
- Have them dressed and ready for breakfast, let them eat, and send them out the door
- Make sure they know how to get to school, whether it’s finding a bus stop, walking the route or hopping in the car with you.
- Take the child to school so he or she can see where to go
- Head home and read or do another activity until lunch
- Alternatively, head to the library or to the store to choose gear for school
- Eat lunch at the same time they will at school
- After lunch, have another activity planned — reading, helping around the house, etc.
- Once the school day would be over, let the him or her play
- Establish a time for them to do their homework, after supper, after play time. Whatever is appropriate for the family.
- Send the child to bed at the appropriate time
This will help your child get into the routine of going back to school following a summer off. Meanwhile, you, the responsible adult, have your own to-do list. This may or may not involve the help of the child or children.
- Take time to visit the school. If you can, meet your child’s teacher.
- Be sure you have multiple copies of the supply list and check off each one after you purchase it
- Contact the school about immunizations, any new regulations or school policies
- Arrange for any necessary pre- and post-school care
- Talk to any neighbors about carpooling to school and for special events, groups or practices
- Make sure your children know the bus procedure well in advance including pick-up times, drop-off times and where the bus can be caught
- Before you go off to buy new gear for the children, go through their closets with them. Reorganize and remove items that are too small, unwanted or damaged.
- Buy what they need
- Prepare a spot by the door for placing such things as backpacks, homework and anything they may need for school
Plan ahead. Make sure everyone is familiar with what they need to do, where they are to be and when. If you stick to it, the transition from summer to school should go off without a hitch.