It’s about time you start prepping your child and especially yourself to head back to School and establish a sound routine. This transition can be difficult, both for parents and children. While some kids are excited other face anxiety as a new school year means changes which require adjustment. Plus, the absence of a set school routine for over two months leaves both you and the child in a state of apprehension for the new practice. However, the first few days are crucial in kick starting a rocking year. These can influence children’s attitude, confidence and performance both socially and academically.
Prepping before School begins
Ensure Good Health
It is a good idea to follow up with your child’s pediatrician before school starts to ensure your child is fit and healthy. If you fear any health problems coming up, it is better to remedy them as soon as they are recognized.
Buy School Supplies Early
Re-establish bedtime and mealtime routines
Plan to re-establish the bedtime and mealtime routines (especially breakfast) at least 1 week before school starts. Prepare your child for this change by talking with him about the benefits of school routines in terms of not becoming over tired or overwhelmed by school work and activities. Include pre-bedtime reading and if it was suspended during the summer.
Turn the TV off
Encourage your child to play quiet games, do puzzles, flash cards, colour, or read as early morning activities instead of watching television. This will help ease your child into the learning process and school routine. If possible, maintain this practice throughout the school year. Television is distracting for many children, and your child will arrive at school better prepared to learn each morning if he or she has engaged in less passive activities.
Designate spot for backpacks and lunch boxes
Designate a spot for your children to place their school belongings as well as a place to put important notices and information sent home for you to see. Explain that emptying their backpack each evening is part of their responsibility, even for young children.
The First Week
Clear your own schedule
Declutter your routine to the extent possible. You want to be free to help your child familiarize to the school routine and overcome the confusion or anxiety that many children experience at the start of a new school year.
Prep lunches the night before school
You can save up a lot of morning time prepping for the lunchbox the night before. Older children can help or make their own lunch.
Set alarm clocks
Have school-age children set their own alarm clocks to get up in the morning. Praise them for prompt response to morning schedules.
Leave plenty of extra time
Make sure your child has plenty of time to get up, eat breakfast, and get to school. This ensures that your child is fully awake and active when he reaches school.
Freeze a few easy dinners
When establishing a routine is a task, it will be much easier on you if you have dinner prepared so that meal preparation will not add to household tension during the first week of school.
Dealing with Anxiety
Show you care
Children absorb their parent’s anxiety, so model optimism and confidence for your child. Let your child know that it is natural to be a little nervous anytime you start something new and that your child will be just fine once he or she becomes familiar with classmates, the teacher, and school routine.
Do not overreact
If the first few days are a little rough, try not to over react. Young children in particular may experience separation anxiety or shyness initially but teachers are trained to help them adjust. If you drop them off, try not to linger. Reassure them that you love them, will think of them during the day, and will be back.
Reinforce your child’s ability to cope
Give your child a few strategies to manage a difficult situation on his or her own. But encourage your child to tell you or the teacher if the problem persists. Maintain open lines of communication with the school.