Preparing for Back to School
Great summer, right? Yeah and now it’s almost the end of it and kids must go back to school. Some are enthusiastic and will be eager to go back, but for some, well they might take some convincing that this aspect of their life has to be endured. So here, we share with you tips for getting them back to school as stress free as possible.
Ease them back into it. Especially for little kids who would have reattached themselves to mommy’s apron strings during the summer break, it is essential that they are gently rocked back into school mode rather than receive a shock to the system all at once. So near to the end of the summer, have conversations about school: favourite teacher, activities, playground games, which friends they are most excited to see etc.
Involve them in the back to school shopping. For too many kids, they are busy enjoying themselves then bam! ‘Here are your new school supplies I bought’. For some kids this is overwhelming. One way to avoid this is to let them help choose (with your guidance of course) the new material they will need for school. Trust me, for some kids, they will not be pleased with the pencil sharpener and eraser, ruler etc you chose for them, whereas if given the choice, they might even go for the ones you would choose any way. The important thing is not your feelings but that the kids have a say. When they have helped to choose their stuff, they tend to have more ‘ownership’ of it and are less likely to lose it.
Don’t let them totally get out of school mode. Over the summer, encourage them to do some school related stuff. For me growing up, it was a delight to read all the literature books for the following school year during the summer. So set them a challenge to do that. Other school related tasks they could do over summer include: reading challenges that you can set them, colouring exercises (depending on the age of the student) and memorising time tables. Another one I know I did growing up and which I enjoyed was keeping a diary/journal. It helps with writing and expression. Scrap booking ideas are also a good way of keeping them in school mode. The local library usually has lots of activities on for students of all ages.
Encourage them to keep in touch with other kids from school over the summer. For some kids/teenagers this is no problem, however there are some kids who are socially awkward and for them this is a problem. They need to be encouraged in this regard. They might not have a lot of friends but the one or two or few that they have usually mean a lot to them. So meeting up with them over the summer offers some continuity and make meeting up at the start of the new school year less daunting. Where you can provide a safe haven for this to happen, do so. You can also help to prepare them mentally by talking through issues they are anxious about.
Have that talk. There is so much happening in our society these days and our schools are not spared! Refusing to talk to your child about some of these issues is like burying your head in the sand. So before they head out back to school, talk to them about bullying, knife crimes, gun violence, and drug abuse. Don’t let them be caught unaware. Talk to them about the issues and give them real honest solutions as to how to avoid some of these issues or how to keep themselves safe. They will thank you for it. On the matter of bullying, some parents know straight up that their child is a bully and yet have never spoken to them about the matter. Don’t be one of those! Take the bull by the horns now before it is too late. See my post on adult bullies and do your best to prepare your child.
Ease them back into school bed time and wake up mode. Most kids I know get to sleep later during the summer time. Well before they go back to school, perhaps a week before, start getting them to go to bed on time and wake up on time as for school. Some will appreciate it, some wont, but hey you want to try whatever you can to gently ease them back in to school mode.
Start some kind of countdown exercise. Think of some creative ways of doing this and get the child’s involvement. You could perhaps have poster size papers with numbers on, on the fridge door or hung in the child’s room. They could be numbered with 7 sleeps to go before school starts, 6 sleeps to go before school starts etc. Get the child to get rid of each sheet as part of the countdown exercise.
There are so many ways to prepare for back to school. I know I have not exhausted the list. Why not share your ideas with us, and if you have tried any of our suggestions, let us know how it went.
So from Jo and Leisa, all the best for a productive school year ahead.