Summer is ending and a new school year is about to begin. Here are 6 back to school tips to help your kids adjust to going back to school and make for an easy transition.
Summer is probably every child’s favorite season.
I remember every August when I was a kid, it was like a switch of complete freedom of summer to getting all of us back on a school schedule. And that is such as hard transition for kids!
But luckily, as parents, you have the ability to help make this back to school transition as smooth as possible. And maybe you can even get your kids excited about going back to school!
So how can you help ease the transition from summer to back to school? Here are 6 back to school tips to help both you and your child have an easier time.
6 Back to School Tips for Parents to Make a Smooth Transition
Take Your Kids Back to School Shopping
You might be thinking that taking kids to back to school shopping sounds horrible, but it’s actually a great way to get kids excited about the upcoming school year! Just the thought of getting new clothes and supplies will spike their interest and make them much more excited to actually go back to school.
The key here is to let them make the decisions. Let them decide what kinds of pencils, what color notebooks, and a new backpack.
For middle school and high schoolers, let them choose some fun supplies to decorate their locker at school.
For school clothes, give your kid a budget and let them choose whichever clothes they want. Many kids really want name brand clothes, and while you may think it’s a waste of money having “cool” clothes is very important in the life of a kid, especially as they get older.
Help them make smart shopping decisions and remind them that they can get more clothing if they shop lesser expensive brands, but ultimately leave the decision up to them.
Including them on this special shopping trip will make them happier and they will actually look forward to school after summer. It will also help you to spend some quality time with them which is always a nice thing to do right?
Get Them Back on a Good Schedule
As a parent, you tend to let them lose and let them enjoy during the summer. As they get ready to go back to school, setting up a good schedule is an important thing to do.
Kids, especially teenagers, tend to get on a really bad sleep schedule in the summer. They stay up later and then sleep later in the morning.
A week or so before school begins start waking them up at a specific time. If you have young kids, help them get ready completely so they get an idea of everything that needs to happen on school morning. This will make it easier for you when they actually have to wake up early for school.
For teenagers, getting them on a good sleep schedule is the most important, but sit down and have a discussion about what their mornings will look like. Make sure they are responsible for setting their alarm, getting up on time, eating, and getting ready by the time they have to leave.
If you child has a particularly hard time with transitions consider giving them some study time each day. Give them a few requirements they need to finish each day before they are free to play or do whatever they want. This will help them to get used to things instead of just throwing them directly in the middle of it.
Set Up Goals for the Upcoming School Year
Goals are an important part of life, not only for adults but for kids too. It’s never too early to teach kids the importance of education and its role in achieving their dreams.
Sit down with your kids and have them make a list of goals for the school year. These can be a mix of academic goals and personal goals.
Some goals you could discuss are:
- Getting honor roll all year
- Perfect attendance
- Achieving a specific GPA
- Joining a certain club
- Making a sports team
- Making friends
- Getting a particular SAT/ACT score (high school)
- Improving (not getting into fights, not missing school, improving grades, etc)
Setting up goals at the very beginning will make them more attentive towards school and studies.
If your family gives rewards for achievements or improvements, this is a good time to talk about that. Let them know about the rewards- such as a monetary amount or a special dinner for getting on the honor roll or a particular GPA.
Don’t forget to check in on these goals from time to time. Don’t set them and forget them. These goals give your child something to work towards and strive for and they will boost their confidence when they make their goal.
This is just another way to help them get excited about everything that will come along with the new school year.
Take a Trial Run
This is a especially important back to school tip for young kids who might feel nervous about the new year, or for kids who are in a new school.
If possible, take some time to visit the new school. Meet with the teacher, find your child’s locker or cubby, and take a tour to find important rooms like the office, cafeteria, gym, and bathrooms.
This will make your child feel much less scared about all of the unknowns the new school year brings.
If your child will be riding the bus, do a trial run of that as well. Take a walk to the bus stop, tell them what to do, where to get off, etc. I’ll never forget my first day riding a new school bus, at a new school when I was 7 in the 2nd grade. The bus drove right past my waving mom on the sidewalk and never stopped. Many stops later, after all the stops were complete the driver realized my brother and I were still on the bus and doubled back. It was a simple mistake of my mom not knowing that the pick up spot was not the same as the drop off spot. But it scared me away from riding a bus!
These are things you should be prepared for ahead of time to make sure there’s no big surprise on the first day of school.
Make the First Day of School Special (for Them)
Don’t forget to celebrate the first day of school. This adds a layer of excitement to going back to school.
In my house growing up, my best friend spent the night every year. That way we could get ready together, and more importantly go to school together- which really helped the first day of school nerves!
Here are a few ways you can make the first day of school special:
- Plan a fun outing after school- such as going for ice cream!
- Make a special dessert or decorate back to school cookies
- Pack a special lunch or add an extra surprise in the lunch box
- Let them choose a new outfit for the first day of school
- Have a favorite dinner or go out to eat at a favorite restaurant
- Hold a photo shoot (just remember to make it fun for THEM not just for you)
Basically just do a little more and add a little extra fun to the day. Make it a day they will look forward to instead of dread.
This is a great way to make memories too. So when your kids are grown up they can keep traditions alive and tell fond stories of what their parents did on the first day of school every year.
Keep the Line of Communication Open
Communication is so important as you and your child navigate the back to school season. Be sure to talk to your kids about how they are feeling.
Ask them questions, get them excited, and calm their fears. But remember not to be dismissive about their fears- really hear them and let them know that it’s okay that they feel that way. Don’t say things like “It will be fine.” or “There’s nothing to worry about.” Just listen to their fears and help them figure out the best way to combat those fears.
Have a conversation about things like peer pressure and bullying. These conversations can be tough, but make sure that your kids know that they can come to you with any problems no matter now small or how scared they might be.
Keep up these conversations and check in with them every day to see how they are doing. This can be a great topic of conversation for family dinner time. Be on the look out for changes in behavior and gently try to get them to talk about what might be bothering them.
Sometimes it’s hard to get more than “fine” when asking how their day went, but try to get them talking about their classes, their friends, their teachers, etc. And then really listen to their answers! Here are some more tips on how to talk with your kids, especially teens.
Back to school times are always exciting but nerve wracking at the same time for both parents and kids. Follow these back to school tips to help you be prepared for the new school year and help your child to be excited about a great new school year!