Maybe you are wondering how to get your kids from lazy summer days of sleeping in and staying up late to early school mornings of being dressed and out the door or in front of the computer for virtual learning by 8. Not to worry! We have scoured the internet to find all the best tips for transitioning back to school for you.
1. Ease back into a school based sleep schedule. Those early mornings will be here soon so start putting the kids to bed and waking them earlier a week or two before school starts. Kids aged 5-12 years need 10-11 hours of sleep. WebMD recommends:
“Begin with a wake up time that is about an hour earlier than usual. For example, if your 6-year-old goes to bed at 9 p.m. during the summer and needs to get back to an 8 p.m. bedtime for school, begin by waking her up at 7 a.m. instead of letting her sleep until 8. Then try inching her bedtime back the next night to 8:30 p.m. On day two, wake her up at 6:30 a.m. and aim for an 8 p.m. bedtime.”
2. Get your family’s calendar organized. All the soccer practices, school holidays, and Gideon center visits or online classes need to marked clearly on one calendar where you can see everything coming up to avoid surprises and missed appointments. Organized Home suggests:
Add other calendars to Calendar Central: lunch menus, class assignment sheets, sports practice schedules, virtual classes, Zoom parties, etc.
3. Go visit the school and meet the teacher OR join the virtual meet the teacher night. If your child is able to get to know his new in-person or virtual classroom in advance, this make him more comfortable when he returns or logs on. This is especially important with a child who has any back to school anxiety or if he is attending a new school. Familiarity breeds confidence! WebMD also give this tip:
“These are good opportunities for you to meet the key players: your child’s teachers, school counselors, the principal, and most importantly, front desk staff. “The secretaries know everything and are the first people children see when they arrive at school every day.”
4. Create a structured morning routine. Is there anything more crazy than trying to get out the door or logged into the virtual lesson in the morning while trying to find last night’s homework, pack lunches, and finish your own breakfast? Oh, and did the kids brush their teeth?! Do yourself a favor and write out a morning to do list. You could even laminate for the kids to check off each morning as they complete tasks. This helps them remember what is still needed without you repeating yourself 8 times. Here are some printable options from Family Education.com and Pinterest. Lifehacker offers this protip:
“Once you have picked a morning routine for kids, go through all of the steps with them, talking about each step as you go along your morning. This will help you recognize any glitches or perhaps the need to re-order some of the steps.”
5. Plan out lunches in advance. Here are ton of lunch ideas from 100 Days of Real Food. Or search Pinterest. Batch as much food prep together as possible. Giving out a bag of baby carrots each day? Create each day’s portion as one task and then you only have to grab a bag later – whether staying at home or going to school. Here’s some money and time saving bonuses from Cometogetherkids.com:
Also, by taking a few minutes to portion everything out before the week starts, I know that I we’ll actually eat the food and those strawberries or cucumbers won’t go bad sitting in their original cartons in the back of the fridge.
Involving the kids has really made a difference this school year. Many of the softer fruits like strawberries can be sliced with a not-too-sharp knife and the kids don’t mind helping to slice and package if they can sample a few.
6. Stay positive about any stress or anxiety your children are expressing. They take their cues from you. School family.com says:
“A parent’s attitude has a strong influence on how children view the beginning of school, says Kennedy-Moore. Children pick up on their parents’ feelings, react to them, and often magnify them. “You have to have faith that they’ll be able to get through [changes], even if it’s hard. It’s a powerful message to give kids,” she says. “We don’t want to dismiss their feelings, but we do want to normalize them and say ‘Everyone feels a little nervous going or logging into the classroom, but I really think you’re going to be fine.’”
7. Create a launch pad! This is where all the next day’s needed items are gathered such as school bags, coats, shoes, and basketball uniforms or just the needed assignments if staying virtual. When your have a place for everything, your child knows how to stay organized and where to find it the next morning. Do as much the night before as possible. WebMd offers this extra reminder to “have your child make a list of things to bring to school and post it by the front door.”
8. Nuture independence. Your children can help with many of the above named tasks to make these go faster and easier. It may slow you down at first, but don’t bypass teaching them life skills for a short time gain. Once they are capable, it will be faster overall. Involve them in some of the smaller decisions to create ownership by letting them decide between two acceptable choices. The more your child does for herself, the more confident she will be. Maria Montessori says in The Absorbent Mind:
Any child who is self-sufficient, who can tie his shoes, dress or undress himself, reflects in his joy and sense of achievement the image of human dignity, which is derived from a sense of independence.
9. Do a practice run. Try it the morning routine and route to school a few mornings on time. Then you can determine how long it really takes to walk to school or gather everything and get out the door. As we say at Gideon, practice makes perfect!
10. Keep your Gideon math and reading work routine going. Our students who have been working all summer have avoided the summer slide. If you took the summer off, re-enroll to get those brains warmed up. Students doing Gideon work are already in the homework habit and will ease back into schoolwork easily. The school year is a great time for Gideon as we first solidify the foundation, filling in any holes and gaps, and then we allow your child to go beyond grade level at his own pace. We are building confidence through academic mastery step-by-step which will translate into all areas of your child’s life.