The article originally appeared in The North Fulton Herald
By Margaret P. Jones
The hazy, lazy days of summer will soon give way to the hustle and bustle of preparing to go back to the classroom. As that day approaches, both parents and children may be a bit anxious – new schedule, new teacher, new classmates.
As this transition from summer looms closer, the following ideas may help you and your child get into the proper ‘back to school mindset’ and feel prepared for that first day. These ideas will also set the stage for a successful year.
Re-Establish a Morning and Afternoon Routine: The biggest shift from summer to school is around routine. Re-establishing the school year routines is essential. Sleep is the most important way to set your child up for success. Getting back into the early to bed, early to rise routine before the first day of school is essential. Start this routine about a week before the actual first day of school so your child is rested and ready to learn. Afternoon routines are also important to establish. Look at weekly schedules for after school activities and build routines for homework by establishing a place and a time for work to be completed. Establish a family reading routine to build reading fluency and love of literature.
Set Up a Family Meeting: Schedule a family meeting with your children to come up with an agreed upon morning routine and the expectations you as parents have for your child. For example, are they old enough to make their own lunch? Can they make their bed and get ready on their own? What time do they need to get out of bed? Will they rise to an alarm clock? Include your child in the decisions about this routine and practice it before the first day of school to avoid unnecessary stress.
Plan a Playdate: Schedule a playdate with someone in your child’s new classroom. This relationship building is a great way for students who are new to a school to get to know their classmates, and conversely a good way for students to branch out and meet someone new if they aren’t new to the school. Include yourself in the playdate so that you can get to know your child’s friend’s parents and build your own community.
Develop a List of Questions for The Teacher: Children are often asked to share something about themselves, but learning who your teacher is can be empowering for children as they build a relationship with their teachers. Sample questions could include: what is your favorite book that you read over the summer, do you have any pets, what was your favorite game to play when you were a kid. These are all great ice breakers for both teachers and students, but your child should come up with their own list of questions.
Write a Letter to The Teacher: Have your child write a letter to their teacher, particularly if they are new to the school. The letter could be a great way to have your child introduce themselves, and what they’re looking forward to in the coming year.
Conversation About Expectations: Have a conversation with your child about their expectations or trepidation for the coming year. Accept that new things bring both anxiety and excitement. The possibilities are endless. Creating an open dialogue and routine for sharing can help when school becomes trying for students.