It never ceases to amaze any of us just how quickly summer flies by as August sneakily slips right into September. Alas, once again we’re nigh on the new school year and many parents along with their children are gearing up for getting ‘back to school.’
All school-age children feel some degree of anticipatory anxiety about everything that comes along with entering a new school year: a different teacher, unfamiliar faces, more advanced curriculum, and potentially a new school altogether.
As parents, there are many things you can do in order to adequately prepare both your children and yourself for the new adventures that await you in the upcoming academic year:
- Set up a bedtime schedule. A week or two in advance of the first day of school, start getting your kids to bed earlier each night. Try working backwards by fifteen minutes a night, so that by the time the school bus arrives, they’ll be well-rested and (relatively) easy to rouse from bed, making mornings easier on all of you.
- Review the basics. Most schools have students work on summer packets and/or summer reading projects, but you can up the ante a bit by refreshing their basic math and writing skills. Pinterest has a lot of fun, grade-appropriate ideas for learning games you can make at home, or you can keep it simple and use flash-cards and a daily journal.
- Make the most out of August. As the last month before school grinds into gear again, use August to be fully present with your children. Engage their minds by taking some fun, end-of-summer trips to nearby museums and historical sites. Ask them a lot of questions about what they see there or work with them afterward to make a project about their trip.
- Crack open a book. Some kids are natural readers and may have been reading all summer long, which is fantastic! However, there are many children who may need a little encouragement toward picking up a good book instead of a game controller. Make a trip to your town library or bookstore during which you and your children each select a book to read in the weeks prior to school starting.
- Get your child a medical check-up. Although not always mandated by every school system, scheduling your child’s yearly exam immediately before school begins will ensure that s/he is healthy, up-to-date on immunizations and can hear and see well.
- Take advantage of Open House nights. If your child’s school offers an Open House event wherein parents and students can meet new teachers and get familiar with new classrooms or schools – don’t hesitate to attend! These are great opportunities for both you and your kids to ease back into school mentality. Meeting the teacher and seeing their new classroom and/or school ahead of time often quells both student and parent anxieties.