Going back to school after summer break isn’t all bad. As your kids likely reminded you multiple times throughout the summer, they miss their friends. And whether they’d ever admit it or not, they’re probably looking forward to a change of pace.
Still, that doesn’t mean the transition from unfettered summer fun into the back-to-school routine will be a seamless one. If we’re really being honest, the struggle is real for us mamas too — it means switching gears from summer’s leisurely pace into high gear for school pickups and drop-offs, PTA meetings, sporting events, spelling bees and everything else the school year entails.
Of course, you’re a pro at this by now. Between the parenting under your belt and your own personal back-to-school experience way back when, you’ve got a solid grasp on what it takes to make the transition as painlessly as possible.
What about your kiddos, though? How can you make the move from summer to back-to-school a stress-free process? Here are a few ways to get your little students back into the swing of things.
Start going to sleep (& waking up) earlier
One of summer’s greatest joys is the ability to play from sunup to sundown, running around with neighborhood friends until dark creeps in and it’s time to call it a night. Not surprisingly, going from this sort of wild abandon straight to waking up at the break of dawn to get ready for school can be jarring for your little ones. To minimize the shock factor, start your bedtime routine around 10 to 15 minutes earlier each night for the week before school starts back. You’ll also need to start waking them up 10 to 15 minutes earlier until the alarm clock doesn’t seem like public enemy No. 1 in your household.
Talk to them about any anxiety they might have
It’s totally natural for kids to have anxiety going into a new school year — especially if they are in a new school system or making the jump from elementary to middle or middle to high school. A week or two before school starts back, carve out some time with each kid to discuss any worries they have heading into their new grade level. In doing so, you’ll not only be building their confidence and taking a load off their little shoulders, but you can also head off any big problems at the pass.
Find your healthy-eating groove again
If you’ve managed to steer clear of snacks and sugary treats over the summer, kudos to you. But if (like many of us), you’ve been far more flexible than normal where your kids’ cuisine is concerned, getting back on track before school starts will help them adjust to a schedule that doesn’t include free-range grazing. Bonus? It’ll increase the odds they’ll make healthier choices when they do buy lunch or snacks at school.
Get them pumped up
Sure, they’ll probably moan and groan a bit for good measure prior to the start of school. In their defense, it’s not easy leaving behind the carefree spirit of summer for textbooks and lessons. And even though they’ll enjoy it once the school years gets rolling, your kids might need help seeing the silver lining. Try planning a back-to-school shopping trip and letting them pick out something special for the school year, like a cool new pair of kicks. Another idea? Plan one final end-of-summer hurrah — think: a fun-filled family vacay — to signal the shift from summer to school year.