School supplies can bend the budget, arranging rides to and from school is a pain, and who likes waking up to an alarm?
Let’s face it, back-to-school time can be a bummer and a half for parents as well as kids. Just when you get used to the lazy summer days, you’re back on a fixed schedule with little to no wiggle room. Sending the kids back to school can be just as nerve wracking for parents as it is for kids.
This year when the supply lists arrive and your child has just tried on her hundredth pair of gym shoes, try not to stress. When your kids see you stress they’re more likely to be stressed too. Here are some helpful ways to get your prepare kids for back to school:
Practice making friends.
New year, new class, new people—this is a big deal for kids.
Their former desk buddies may now be in the class nextdoor leaving them feeling shy and uncomfortable around their new classmates.
Help your kids build their confidence and practice their social skills by doing some role playing. Start by approaching your child and politely introducing yourself and asking a few questions. Then switch and put their skills to the test.
Get them on a schedule.
The laziness and unpredictability of summer can make the first day of school an unwelcome surprise. Let your child know ahead of time exactly when their day will end and begin. Try to ease them back into a schedule a week or two before class starts by gradually making bed time a bit earlier every night.
A good way to do this without it seeming like a chore is by making sure they stay busy all day so that once bedtime comes they’re exhausted.
If you’ve got a late sleeper on your hands, think of some fun activities to do earlier in the morning to get them out of bed.
Teach them to play only after work.
How easy it is to throw the backpack down, plop on the couch and sit in front of the TV until dinner time.
Try to get your kids into the habit of getting their work done before play—fun should not be an entitlement and should be earned.
I have a friend who tells her kids that for every minute they want to play video games, they must first read for an equal amount of time. While she admits that they may have only been pretending to read some of those times, at least their noses were in books and not in front of the TV.
Focus on the positives.
Waking up early? LAME.
It’s hard to see the bright side when the subject matter is school, but try to point out the positives of a new school year. Maybe they’ll make new friends and have tons of fun. Maybe their new teacher will be way cooler than the previous.
And hey, if you’re really searching for the light at the end of the tunnel, Christmas break is just a few months away.
Sign up for after-school activities.
Back-to-school doesn’t have to mean all work and no play.
The fun can continue throughout the school year by signing your child up for a creative outlet like dance or music lessons. Studies have shown that most kids who participate in extracurricular activities perform better in school.
ActivityHero can help you find the perfect activity for your child, whatever their interests may be. Just don’t let them think that their academics can slip if they get too wrapped up with a sport or activity—it is a privilege not a right and kids should have to earn the ability to participate in activities.
Meet the teacher and visit the school.
In a time where everything is new, a little familiarity can go a long way.
See if your child’s teacher will allow you to come in for a visit to get acquainted with their new surroundings.
Encourage your child to ask their teacher questions about the upcoming year—what sorts of field trips, studies, and events will be taking place? They may just uncover something to be excited about! This should help ease your child’s mind a bit and make them feel more comfortable on their first day.
What is your child excited about this year?
What are their concerns?
Sometimes verbalizing worries can make a world of difference—just let them know you’re there to listen. Assure your child that all kids are nervous to start school and if any problems should arise you’re always there to help.
Written by Sarah Antrim