Prepping Kids for “Back to School”

So long summer. Farewell sprinkler, swim trunks, and water wings. Adieu late nights and sleep-in mornings. As we bid our farewells to the pleasures of summer,  there is only one thing on the family brain... back to school.

And whether your child is returning for another year of school, or just starting their first day - these 5 tips for prepping for the transition are sure to keep you on your toes when the big day arrives.

Create less chance for dreaded Morning Madness 

Start the morning routines now! Ease into those soon-to-be hectic 7:30 AM breakfasts, and try waking up and being out the door earlier. Plan an activity that creates an opportunity for punctuality, like a play-date or a volunteer gig at your local farm, food bank, or animal shelter. Start the bedtime routine sooner too!

Help your kids actually “see it coming”

Visual reminders are great for young children to understand the close proximity of the big day, and help them prepare for the transition. Use a calendar to mark the days or create a construction paper chain link - As the days go by, the chain gets shorter.

Be dramatic

Role playing can be a great way to prepare your child for new situations. Practice the drive or the walk to school for a visit. Try simulating a moment of attendance taking, lining up for gym, or meeting the teacher for the first time. Giving your child some “scripts” for new situations can ease anxiety and make them more successful when it’s really show time. Let them know what some of their expectations will be as students, and re-create those moments.

All hands on deck

You can’t be too prepared. As a parent, try to rid any anxiety you have too - make the necessary copies of emergency contact information and phone lists. Plan out breakfasts, bagged lunches, and maybe even freeze some dinners. Shop for the essential pencil cases and backpacks, and keep it in an organized and visible place for you kiddo to see in the days preceding school.

Check in, be present.

Talk to your child and make that essential one-on-one time for each of them. Your child needs that individual attention, and you need to be their sounding board to hear all their thoughts, fears, and hopes. Validate their nervous feelings and then generate a positive outcome too. Discuss the unexpected - and since you can’t be there all the time, try giving your child some go-to coping strategies in the event of an obstacle.

Remember that transitions can be tough and we all respond to change differently.  Though remember that by helping your child with these transitions, you can teach resilience to make it smoother.