As we near the end of the summer holiday, our attention fades from planning vacation trips to getting our children ready to return to school. Of course, stores began their “Back to School” clothing and supplies sales in late June when we had hardly started to enjoy the break, but now it’s really time to get back in the swing of things. In my opinion, as a parent and an educator, there are a few general areas where you can assist your child to prepare and transition into the new school year:
1. Bedtime Routines – Set The Clock Back
Summer vacation is notorious for extended bedtimes … and why not? Kids enjoy the warm weather by playing outside, riding their bikes, and enjoying many other activities. But, returning to a bedtime routine can be challenging. The following is a guide on how much sleep your child needs each night:
While your child may still be getting this amount of sleep, the likelihood of having a set bedtime and being dressed, eating breakfast, and arriving at school by 8:10 AM each day is no longer a routine. Start using the school clock to get your child back into the habits he/she will need during the next nine months. Bedtime routines need to be re-established well in advance.
2. Read Every Night
Even though reading is something children should be doing year-round, many families find that routines are often disrupted over the summer and reading takes a holiday, too. In the two to three weeks before school begins, have your child get back into the habit of reading a book, magazine, or newspaper each night. It does not need to be a lengthy read, but the routine will help once the homework begins to come home soon after school starts. Peruse the Academy’s summer reading, visit your public library, and check out a selection of those books!
3. Anxiety Outlet
Depending on your child’s age and temperament, anxiety may be an issue. Whether joining the Academy this year, moving to another school division, or simply the unknown of the next grade level – children may be anxious about what is to come. Remind them that everyone feels nervous on the first day of school (even principals and teachers), stress the positive things about going back to school, and most importantly – be there to listen to their concerns. While it is not necessary to have an answer for the anxious child, it is important to be there as an empathetic listener. Share your own stories and school anxiety of when you were a child.
These few small efforts can really help a student start the school year off right!
This post first appeared on Sewickley Academy's Private School blog.