Back to School Tips and Tricks for Easy Adjusting
It's that time of year again. The crayons and notebooks are in full display at the front of most stores. The sales and promotions for clothing and backpacks, lunchboxes and shoes are overwhelming. It's officially Back to School time! There are two sides of the fence when it comes to that phrase: the side that gets super excited and the side that wants to run and hide until summer vacation begins again. No matter which side you are on, I've found some simple tricks to help make this time of year run a little smoother.
Include the Children in the Shopping
I understand that it's easier, quicker, less stressful and just overall more desirable to run out and obtain the school supply list as a solo adventure. However, I have learned that including the children in this selection process can help build a sense of ownership over the supplies that they lack otherwise. Whether it's choosing which princess adorns her folder, or going the cheaper route and simply picking out the color(s) of the folders, being able to have a role in the picking process seems to help ease some of the anxiety of getting ready for school.
Make a Back to School Tradition
Create a special event that your family does each year in the anticipation of getting back to school. This could be something big, or something small. Our family has a tradition that the kids look forward to each year, and by having that good thought, it makes the process seem less scary but builds anticipation. After the "Meet the Teacher Night", we always stop by this little ice cream shop. As we eat our ice cream, we talk about what we learned, whether it be how the class will run (can they bring their water bottles this year?) or an opinion on the teacher / other students in the class. Having a happy thing to look forward to helps make the time a bit brighter, even for the kids who might not be thrilled about the thought of school itself.
Start a Routine
A little bit before school starts, we do two weeks in our house, start getting the kids into a routine. We begin setting alarms for whatever time they will need to be up for school, as well as heading to bed at our school year bedtime. Things such as getting ready in a timely fashion in the morning, and setting out our clothes for the next day before we go to bed begin to get put in place at this time. This way, when the first day of school finally arrives, the kids are used to the routine of getting ready.
Encourage Your Child to Talk about their Fears
Having an action plan can help ease anxieties. Sometimes children are scared or worried about a situation because they are unsure how to respond if / when it happens. Encourage your child to talk about what they like / dislike about school, and why. That way, you can help discuss problem solving techniques with them for their concerns. When they understand what to do if they forget which room their class is in after taking a trip to the bathroom (may have been a concern of Goose when she started Kindergarten...) it becomes a less scary situation to face. Open, honest communication is always the key when it comes to helping to keep your children's emotions in check.
Be a Good Example
Even if the thought of sending your children off to school, where you won't be able to be there if they fall down from the monkey bars, scares you to pieces - don't show it! Children see far more than we give them credit for, and if they see you fretting and worrying about them going to school, it's probably going to affect their attitude about school as well. So put on a smile and think happy thoughts, at least when the kids are around.
What back to school traditions does your family celebrate?