Nobody likes to see summer end. When I was a kid growing up in New York, school always started the Wednesday after Labor Day. We dreaded it. But by that time the weather was getting cooler; the town pool was closed for the season. You didn’t feel like you were missing out. Nowadays, it seems as if schools are starting earlier and earlier. In some parts of the country, kids are headed back at the beginning of August—when summer’s in full swing.
What’s a parent to do when the last thing their kids want to do is head back to the classroom? Here are a few tips to help get your kids into a school frame of mind and ease them into a new and productive school year.
Start practicing the school routine two weeks before school actually starts. All of us want to stock up on sleep as much as we possibly can before school starts. Trust me, it will stink, but it will help in the long run if you start practicing getting kids to bed on time in order to get them up in time for the bus. Our body clocks take a while to reset themselves after the summer. We’re better off easing into the schedule slowly, rather than forcing our kids (and ourselves) to change overnight.
Make a morning and evening schedule for your kids. Print it out. Go over it with them to make sure they are on board. Setting up expectations is key to achieving results. There are no excuses if your kids know the plan in advance! You can add pictures for younger children who are not yet reading.
Attend any Back-to-School events your child’s school offers. Many elementary schools have a set time before school starts when students can visit their new classroom, meet their teacher, or even attend a back-to-school picnic. These events can be difficult to get to for parents who work outside the home, but they can really help get your child excited about the new school year. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Grandparents, babysitters, or other friends’ parents might be happy to take your child to the events.
Remember: learning opens the doors of opportunity. As much as we can, it’s great when we can model excitement and a positive attitude about the start of a new school year. It’s a fresh start and offers hope of great new things to come . . . Besides, the end of the school year will be here before we know it, and we’ll soon find ourselves starting it all over again.