Kids are usually way more excited about the last day of school versus the first, right? Going back to school can be a really positive experience for kids, from seeing old friends and making new ones, to landing cool teachers, getting new shoes and balancing the routine. If you have a child who is really dreading that first day back, here are some tips to make it easier on the both of you.
1. Practice the routine. Those summer hours will slowly fade and the early mornings will be a very abrupt wakeup call! Start resetting their body clocks by getting them to bed at the same time they would need to be during the school year. Inch your way there, making it earlier and earlier every night by 15 minutes. The same idea goes for waking up: Have them set their alarm clocks (or you can be the alarm) to make sure they actually get their feet on the ground. Click here for 18 tips to get a better night's sleep.
2. Make it new. Pick up your school supply list and hit the stores. Does your child need a new backpack? Address the lunch time ordeal with a new lunch bag, like one of these. While you're getting pencils, rulers and notebooks, you'll need fresh socks and sneakers, maybe some new uniforms or outfits, even a new haircut. Going back to school is like a holiday in itself!
3. Read for confidence. If your kid has summer reading, they're probably just now getting around to it. Help them out by setting short-term goals, trying to accomplish one chapter a day with some light note-taking (summer seems to weaken the memory!). Read along with them. Have them read community newsletters, online articles you think are appropriate or that they may find interesting, and help wake up the brain. You want them going into the first week with confidence!
4. Mark the calendar. Post a calendar for the entire family to see so everyone can be on the same page. With school comes new schedules and extracurriculars while trying to find that balance again between school, work and sleep.
5. Look forward to tradition. The last weekend before school starts, do something fun as a family. Take the kids to an amusement park, throw a pool party, take a quick getaway, go camping or anything that you know your family will enjoy. Plan it, time it and go for it. It can become a tradition each year for the kids to look forward to — one last hoorah for the summer. This is also a great opportunity for you to get some one-on-one time with your child before the chaos.
6. Breakfast on the big day: Time to go all out, Mom. Whip up something special on the first day of school or pick up their favorite bagels or breakfast sandwiches to have on hand that morning. Send them off with a full tummy and a big smile. Get inspired here! Take it one step farther and have some legit afternoon snacks ready for them to dig into when they get home.