September is looming near. You’ve already started watching the school supply sales, but it’s also time to start preparing your child for heading back to school. If your household is like mine, the rules get more slack in the summer. Bedtime is pushed back, the kids are used to playing all day, spending more time with friends and family, and generally just getting to have fun! I’m still relatively new at the whole school experience but here are a few things I’ve learned:
1. Routines: Getting your child back into a routine is essential. A major issue seems to be a change in sleep schedule during the summer. You may be out and about later and lets face it, the sun is out longer too. Start thinking about the appropriate bedtime for your child when the school year starts. I’ve read different opinions on when to adjust the sleep schedule. Some people say 1 month in advance and others say 1 week. My personal preference is about 2 weeks before school starts. Try changing the bedtime by 10-15 minutes each night to ease the child back into a sleep routine.
2. Get Ready: I mentioned a couple weeks ago that you can get supplies for less by not being brand specific and thinking about practicality. However, I do think it is important to get some items that make your child excited to go back to school. Maybe your daughter’s favorite color is pink. You can pick up pink folders and pencil case or get a Hello Kitty water bottle (hmm, I wonder where that idea came from). Older kids may benefit from getting the “in” item to start off the school year. I liked wearing a new outfit the first day. Find out what would make your child excited about returning to school, within the budget.
3. Meet the teacher: I can’t tell you how important this has been for my kids. Getting to know the teacher in advance helps to eliminate some of the stress from not knowing what to expect. I recommend that you try to go on the scheduled day for your class, so your child gets to meet some of the other students. Also, make sure to tour the school if it’s your child’s first year. Last year, Monekeyboys school offered a school bus tour for the kindergartners. Finally, start riding the bus the first day if that will be your child’s transportation for the year. You don’t want your child jumping on after the first week and the kids have already picked out their seats.
4. Talk, Talk, Talk: Talk to your child about what to expect. If you’ve met the teacher and other students you can make the discussion more personal. Remember to keep it positive. If you’re nervous about the new school year, your child will pick up on that. Just don’t go overboard. Try to find a balance between preparing your child and making them want to run in the other direction when they see you coming!
5. Get organized: Before school begins, make sure you have all the required supplies and necessities together. You don’t want to be out the day before looking for supplies or clothes last minute. Also, early departure means a rush in my house on weekdays. I lay out the kids clothes, pack lunches, and make sure the backpack is ready the night before. If everything is ready to go, hopefully you can eliminate a morning battle.
6. Preschool Age: If your child is just starting preschool or has never been to school, be prepared for separation anxiety. Monkeyboy had a horrible time when he started pre-k. He was used to being home with me for two years. It took a month of crying for him to adjust. LuLu, on the other hand, was easy. She was used to being left at the Y, so she was more adjusted to leaving me for short periods. She was nervous and a little clingy but it wasn’t a full fledged meltdown like my first born. Consider having non-family look after your child now, so they learn that mommy will be back.
I’d love to hear your ideas. I know I still have a lot to learn, especially for my 1st grader. *Sign*