Beat the Back to School Blues

Ok, parents. The summer is winding down and the young ones are preparing to go back to school. It seems like it is always such a harsh reality on that first day. So here are a few ideas to make the change flow with a little less drama.

  1. Re-establish school routines. Summer is a great time for loose bedtimes and late breakfasts. However, that will all come to an abrupt halt on the first day of school. Use the last few weeks of summer to establish a routine that is more similar to school days. Get up and go to bed at around the same time. Eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack at the times he or she will be eating during the school year. This will help to reintroduce the routine gently. If you have motorized blinds in the kids’ rooms, you could schedule them to open earlier and let the sun help you make a wake up call.
  2. Help kids prepare mentally. Talk to your child about school. Talk about what he or she is looking forward to and what may be causing apprehension. Remind him or her of the good things and encourage your child to focus on the positive. When a concern is voiced, brainstorm ways for your child to overcome the difficulty.
  3. Help kids prepare physically. School supply shopping was and still is my favorite time of the year. It’s hard not to go overboard with shiny new supplies, but your child will need some things to make sure he or she has what is needed to do the classwork. Don’t wait until the last minute to go shopping. Let your child select items he or she likes, but help him or her make wise decision, as well. In addition, you might consider purchasing a few extra supplies to share with the less fortunate. Look for local charities that are hosting back-to-school supply drives.
  4. Attend orientations. This is important whether your child is starting a new school or just a new grade. Knowing a little about what to expect the first day will give your child confidence and help him or her face other challenges more easily.
  5. Set up a time and place for homework. Craft a creative space that speaks to your child’s unique qualities and interests so that it is a place in which he or she looks forward to spending time. Make sure there is adequate lighting as well as peace and quiet. By making homework time a consistent part of your child’s daily routine, you may be able to nip some battles in the bud.
  6. Create a family calendar. Color code it for each member of the family so you can see at-a-glance what all is going on for any given day. Make a habit of filling in field trips, sporting events, practices, and afterschool teacher meetings as soon as you know about them. You might also want to put big project due dates as well.
  7. One last hurrah. Send off summer in style with one more family activity. Maybe it’s a weekend trip to the beach or a family trip to an amusement park. Perhaps it’s on the money-saving end and you just have a backyard barbecue and run through the sprinklers together. Whatever it is, make a big deal out of it and make sure everyone in the family is there to participate in the fun.

Enjoy the last days before school starts again and help your child be prepared for a great year.