As a parent, you may be looking forward to sending your children back to school after a long, fun summer. For the child, it can be difficult to come to terms with the fact that summer is over. Transitioning from the relaxed structure of summer into the routine and focused structure of school can be intimidating for the entire family. If your child is younger, the separation for you and your spouse might be especially challenging.
When it comes to preparing your child for this new adventure, preparation for the transition is imperative, and there are many ways to achieve this.
Attend School Functions
Meet and Greet days are essential for helping your child transition to school for the first time or even to level up a grade. The comfort of routine is greatly upset for the first month of school. If your school has the option of an open house or meet and greet at registration day, it is definitely worth it to allow your child the chance to meet their teacher before the first day of class.
This is often a time when your child’s shyness will come out of the woodwork. The first meeting can be awkward for the child, which is why having you around during the greeting is helpful. Giving your child the chance to interact with their teacher before being surrounded by their peers gives them the opportunity to relieve some jitters. Additionally, the child gets to interact with the teacher in an unassuming environment. They are not being graded in this moment which allows for the relationship to begin building early on.
Establish a Home Routine
Getting your child used to a before and after school routine before the school year begins can serve as useful practice. Setting an earlier bedtime and waking them up in the morning will help to adjust their sleep schedule. If your child is involved with sports or taking lessons for an extracurricular activity, continue those practices throughout the summertime. Provide your child a snack around the time they would be returning home from school.
Summer is also a great time to have your child structure their chores around the time that they would be at school, dinner, playtime, and bed. By establishing after school normalcy before school actually starts, your child will be better prepared for the new daily structure with 7-8 hours of school in the middle of their day.
The end of summer is the best time to get your child used to being out of the house or away from you for extended periods of time if they are not already. If it is your child’s first time going to school, the thought of you leaving can be scary. If you have a ritual that you do when you drop them off at a grandparent’s or a friend’s, now is the time to pull it out. It can be as simple as saying, “I love you,” and giving them a hug, just so long as the ritual is familiar and signals to them that you will be back to pick them up at school or the bus stop. Make sure your child knows who will be dropping them off and picking them up – and it is best to keep this consistent if your schedule allows for it.
Offering your child structure is essential as they embark on their new school journey. Letting them know that you are there, even at an arm’s length, gives them a sense of safety and even confidence in a new intimidating setting.