Starting school again the fall takes a bit of transition time. There is a theory which purports that 21 consecutive days of engaging in an activity creates a habit. Use those 21 days before the first day of school to help make a child’s transition from summer to a school schedule less stressful and problematic.
Tips for Transitioning from a Summer to School Schedule at Home
The number one issue for transitioning back into a school schedule is a child’s sleep pattern. Some students, particularly pre-teens and teens who need a lot of sleep may have developed a habit of sleeping into until noon, even when the sun was shining.
1. Three weeks before school starts, yes, 21 days, start waking the child up in time to shower, eat breakfast with enough time to get to the bus stop or to walk or drive to school.
2. Buy students a new alarm clock they can start using, and place it on the opposite side of the room as their bed.
3. Start a no phone in the bedroom rule for teens who stay up too late texting their friends.
4. Encourage quiet pre-bedtime activities for students of all ages, from baths and reading to quiet family time together.
Children at home during the summer months may start grazing patterns. Some kids will have a pattern of eating a bowl of cereal, followed by some toast, only to be eating an apple an hour after that. Although grazing is not unhealthy, particularly when the foods are nutritious, kids need to become more accustomed to scheduled eating.
5. Prepare or help them learn to prepare their own quick and healthy breakfast.
6. Try to schedule lunch around the same time each day.
One difficult transition from elementary school to middle school for some students is the reduced time they have for lunch. There may be less time to socialize and eat during lunch period and some students will have to learn to eat a bit faster than they were accustomed to doing in elementary school.
Have Some Fun
When you start transitioning kids back to school, don’t forget that summer is still here.
7. Schedule a couple of summertime-only activities that your child would like to participate in before school starts. When the child feels like they were able to do something fun in the summer, going back to school won’t be such a tragedy.
8. Discuss with students any extra-curricular activities they may be interested in and make arrangements accordingly. Knowing about extended school days and scheduling car pooling from school to karate or piano lessons before school starts will help the whole family.
Prepare for School
9. Before school starts talk to your student about homework time. Kids who play sports or need some free time may thrive when given a couple of hours after school to just be kids. For some students, doing homework after dinner works and for others, doing homework right after school will work better.
10. Bring any child who is moving to a different school to visit the school and classrooms before the first day of school. Preschoolers and elementary school students who are changing classrooms will also have an easier transition when they have even a little familiarity with their setting.