Transitioning back to school can be difficult for children, no matter their age. Luckily, there are steps you can take to ensure a smooth and exciting transition to the school year. Try out some of these ideas to ease back into the school year.
1. Create a Morning Routine – Waking up in time for school after a summer break can come as a shock to the whole family! Try getting into your school year routine gradually the week before the start of school. Wake up ten to fifteen minutes earlier every morning until you reach the time you’ll need to get up. Set the alarm together; this will make your child feel included and develop math skills. After waking up, practice the school morning routine. If the bus will take the children to school, take a morning walk to the bus stop the week before school to get them acclimated.
2. Talk about Feelings – The start of school can bring up a lot of emotions. Some children will be eager, while others will be more hesitant, and of course, there can be a combination. Talk about how your children are feeling, and validate those feelings. Share times when you might have felt the same way, i.e., when you met new people, or started a new job. There are many books that can help get the conversation started. Check out this list of back to school books from Gift of Curiosity for some ideas.
3. Talk about what to Expect – Just like adults, children feel more in control and less anxious when they know what to expect. Attend any school events prior to the start of the school year and learn a little bit about their future teacher and classroom. Read their class list together and talk about who you know and who will be new friends. Have an end of summer play date with future classmates to get the ball rolling. If your child is still anxious about the first day of school, create a plan for the day, listing your morning routine, their school day, and after school activities.
4. Prepare Together! – Do some things that will engage your child in school and get them excited! For example, go shopping together for their lunch box or make a list together of healthy lunch options. Shop for the items on their school supply list together together, encouraging your child to check off each item as they put it in the cart. Involving your child in the school preparation will make your child feel part of the process and also help them learn about nutrition, literacy, and math.
5. Document the First Day – The first day of school marks the beginning of another chapter in your child’s life. Make it special by sitting down for breakfast together or including a note in your child’s lunch. Snapping a photo is another great way to mark the occasion and share the moment with friends and family. The Idea Room has put together a fantastic list of creative ideas for that first day photo!
Plan on taking photos on every first and last day of school, and all throughout the year! You can create a book of each school year and include your child’s accomplishments from that school year, for example, started soccer, began reading chapter books, started wearing underwear, etc. At SEEC, documenting each child’s growth is part of our practice, and our children love to look through their books and reflect on their own growth and memories.
It’s important to note, that if your child is feeling anxious and doesn’t want to pose for a photo, you should respect their feelings over snapping an Instagram-worthy shot. If they aren’t feeling it the first day, perhaps later in the week or year they’ll be feeling more comfortable, and you can get a photo then.
Want more ideas? Visit our Back to School Pinterest board for more books, activities, and resources to make the start of the school year great!