Your child may never admit this to you but, after a month or two of summer break, children are often bored and anxious to get back to school. What seemed like so much fun back in May, has evolved into long days with kids not knowing quite what to do with themselves.
As happy as most students will be to see their friends and teachers again, it may be difficult for children to get back into school mode. Here are some things parents can do to help kids transition from summer break into the school routine.
Start Shifting Bedtime
The National Sleep Foundation recommends children ages 6-13 get 9 to 11 hours of sleep each night for optimal health, school performance, and information retention. To help children get back on schedule, move your student’s bedtime up in 15-minute increments every few days, until the appropriate bedtime is reached. Once you’ve determined the right bedtime for your child, keep strictly on that schedule, even on weekends.
Watch for School Anxiety
The unknown can cause anxiety in adults, so imagine how it can affect children. Student angst can be alleviated by accompanying your child to your school’s Open House or Meet-The-Teacher Night. Parents can also talk with their student to discover what is causing them to be anxious. Give your child examples of when they were similarly anxious over a situation that ended happily—like the start of school last year.
Make Buying School Supplies Fun
Everyone loves getting new things, and shopping for school supplies can put a positive spin on going back to school. Include your student when buying the supplies they need. Steer kids toward items which convey the message that school is fun. Parents, if possible, buy extra school supplies. Things can get lost or damaged during the school year, and it’s handy, and less stressful for everyone, if you have replacements ready.
Parental participation in a child’s education is an indicator of future success. Whether it’s an hour per day or an hour per month, parental involvement can make a difference. Ask your student’s teacher or the school administrators how you can help and what type of contribution would be the most effective.
Celebrate School Year’s Eve
Make the start of school something special. Throw a school-themed party for your child and their friends, take your student on a back-to-school getaway weekend, plan a special breakfast for the first day of school, and document their first day in their new grade by taking a lot of photos.
The first day of a new school year can be emotionally overwhelming for kids. Turning trepidation into enthusiasm requires parents make the start of the school year an exciting and fun experience kids will look forward to.