The syllabus for Advanced Placement Biology arrived just three days after school ended. I wanted to tear out my hair. How could my child do two local field trips when she was half a continent away with her father for six weeks?
Single parents aren’t the only ones who dread that time of year when the school term is just around the corner. Transitioning from a summer to a school schedule is easier if you follow these tips, courtesy of the National Association for the Education of Young Children on education.com:
1. Explain the change. Youngsters generally feel more comfortable when they know in advance what to expect. Use age-appropriate terms how their daily schedules will change once school starts.
2. Practice the new schedule. Follow it for a few days before school. This might help keep your children from acting confused, groggy, cranky or stuck in the bed on the first day.
3. Go over any changes. Are any of your kids changing schools? Moving from kindergarten to full-day classes? Don’t forget changes in child-care arrangements.
4. Visit the school. Meet the teacher and visit your child’s classroom in advance. Be sure to allow enough time to also find the restrooms and the playground.
5. Check out books. Reading about other children’s experiences is a great way to ease yours into a new school schedule.
6. Involve the kids. Let all of them help prepare for the transition from summer to school schedule. Encourage them to lay out their own clothing, pack a back pack and pick out a favorite photo to take on the first day.
7. Let them talk. Encourage kids to verbalize their feelings but be careful to mask any of your own reservations. Also avoid yelling at a child who resists hopping out of bed, brushing his teeth or getting dressed. All kids do this at times. All parents should be prepared for a few tears.
8. Make drop-off and pick-up predictable. Consistency in transportation or walking to school is important in developing confidence.
9. Know your kids are watching. How they handle transitioning from a summer to a school schedule will mirror how you handle it. Encourage your children by helping them prepare in advance, explaining any changes and listening to their doubts or fears.
10. Settle the nitty-gritty with older kids. From my own experience, I would stress how important it is to go over details in advance. If you use allowances, clarify the amount and what’s expected. For teenagers, make sure house and homework rules are crystal clear before the first day of school.