Summer break is nearly over for most kids across the country. The transition from a carefree summer with looser schedules to a demanding schedule can be a little bumpy for some, but there are a few things you can do to make the back-to-school transition a little easier for your student — as well as for yourself.
The transition from a carefree summer with looser schedules to a demanding schedule can be a little bumpy for some.
Get Your Routine Ready
Often the hardest part of the transition is changing from a carefree schedule with later bedtimes and later mornings to a more strict schedule. Subtly can be your friend. Instead of a stark and drastic change, a more subtle transition may make that first week back to school easier for everyone.
Look at the calendar and figure out how many days you have between now and the first day of school. Begin making bedtime just 10 or 15 minutes earlier for the first week. Increase it until you have a bedtime suitable for your family’s school time schedule. Do the same with waking. Wake them up just a few minutes earlier each morning until they are up for adequate time for school mornings.
Your afternoon schedule is just as important. Try working on this too. How long does your child need for homework each evening? Will it be done before or after supper? Figure these things out and have your child practice homework time by reading quietly each evening during the time he will be doing homework during the school year.
Get Your Child Ready
Now is the time to fit in those missed physicals, eye exams and dental checkups. It’s easier to schedule these now so you don’t have to worry about missing school or rushing after school to get them taken care of. A child with underlying healthy issues or dental problems will not be able to do as well in school. A quick check up with the pediatrician and the dentist can give your child the edge she needs in school.
Talk to your child about any anxieties he may be having about the upcoming school year. Is this a new school? Has he been held back a year? Are there any changes that could cause him anxiety? When you talk just open the conversation by asking. Don’t pry. Make sure he knows that you care and you are there for him.
Get Your Household Ready
Does your child have extracurricular interests? If so you may want to look at the calendar and figure out the budget now. For example, my daughter dances ballet and I know in September we will have more than tuition fees for ballet. We will have Nutcracker fees come due because she wants to dance in this year’s performance. Think ahead so you are not caught off guard by fees and dues for those extra curricular things.
Think ahead to busy school mornings. How will you keep things organized? We had a ‘parking place’ in the house when my oldest kids were in school. Anything that had to go out the door with them in the morning was placed on the love seat by the door. This prevented them from scattering around in the morning trying to find things. It was a little extra work right before bedtime, but it sure did make all difference on those busy mornings!
For little ones you can pick out several outfits that match. Put a pair of pants, a shirt, and clean socks together. Roll them and put a rubber band around them. This will let the little one pick out an outfit and mom can let him dress himself knowing his pants and shirt will match and will be clean. Think of other things you can do to help little ones gain some autonomy.
Don’t forget to breathe! No matter how much we prepare there will be some extra craziness those first couple of weeks. If it is at all possible, take some time off of work. Even if you can only take a couple of hours off a week. Take care of yourself. The caretaker is such a vital person for the family, and if you get stressed and worn out, it is hard on everyone.
Most importantly, don’t forget to take that first school day picture. Sit back and remember her first day or dream ahead to what he may become in life. Take a moment to think of all your child will learn this year, and smile.
Adrienne May is a military spouse. Her husband is an Army soldier and now is serving in the Army National Guard. Together they have three children from preschool to pre-teen. Adrienne has a Bachelors Degree in Sociology & Non-Profit Management, and is actively involved in family readiness and disaster preparedness on the state level. She spends her free time advocating for military family programs, homecoming transition programs and adequate veterans benefits.
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Adrienne May maintains Military Family Central for Veterans United Home Loans, the nation's leading VA-approved lender. As a mom of three, from toddler to teenager, and wife to a National Guard solider, Adrienne has built up a massive library of resources, tips, articles and contributors for military families of all shapes, sizes and branches!