Ready for the first day of school?.. Hard to believe the time has come already. Seems like summer goes by faster and faster every year. After a successful back to school night, kids are probably feeling both excited and nervous. After all, it’s a big adjustment to start a new school or a new class, and get back to routines after most had a summer filled with fun family vacations and less strict routines.
So how do you go about easing your children and yourself back into the daily routine of school?
- Start by listening to your child… Do they seem nervous? Excited?
- How do you feel about it?.. If you are nervous, they will probably pick up on that, so be sure to set a positive tone and let them feel your excitement and enthusiasm.
- Have a back to school family tradition?… Let them look forward to this time of year by celebrating in a special way the day or night before school starts. Roast marshmallows or make super ice cream sundaes, turn your backyard into a drive in… Do something super fun as a family.
- Worried about morning routine chaos? Put a checklist on your fridge to remember all the things you are no longer in the habit of doing.
- Did you pack their lunch or do they have lunch money?
- Did you go through their backpack? Fill out any paperwork?
- Do they have their homework?
- Did they make their beds?
- Do you have what you need for they day? (Purse, keys, etc.), it’s easy to forget our own items when we are so focused on what our kids need.
Just remember, routines WILL return to normal, days will be hectic but you will make it work. When you are running late for work and realize you left the dance shoes on the counter, or your purse/briefcase for the 2nd day in a row, or you gave the wrong backpack to the wrong child, remember that it will get easier… they will make new friends, see old friends, learn at a rate that will continue to astound us and they will amaze us every day.
The following are additional tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
MAKING THE FIRST DAY EASIER
- Remind your child that there are probably a lot of students who are uneasy about the first day of school. This may be at any age. Teachers know that students are nervous and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible.
- Point out the positive aspects of starting school. She’ll see old friends and meet new ones. Refresh her positive memories about previous years, when she may have returned home after the first day with high spirits because she had a good time.
- Find another child in the neighborhood with whom your student can walk to school with or ride with on the bus.
- If it is a new school for your child, attend any available orientations and take an opportunity to tour the school before the first day.
- If you feel it is needed, drive your child (or walk with her) to school and pick her up on the first day.