image credit: frugallivingnw
I don't know when school starts where you are, but for public schools in Hawaii, kids are strapping on their backpacks and heading for the bus stop on August 2nd! Can you believe it!?!? That's according to my 7 year old niece so I'm assuming she got it right. I remember those days when school started on Sept. 1 and not a day sooner. Ah well.
If your kids are anything like my nieces, they've probably grown accustomed to staying up late watching their favorite movies, waking up late, running around like crazy with cousins and getting as much sun as possible. I hope it's been a summer of fun for everyone, but let's face it. Fall is right around the corner, and these kids have got to get back to the tight schedule they left behind at the end of May.
Here are some tips for easing kids back into school:
1) Take your kids on a back-to-school shopping trip: Nothing excited me more as kid than helping mom stock up on crayons, pens, pencils, notebooks, pencil boxes and backpacks to hold it all. Once we brought all our goodies home, we'd label everything with our name. I remember one of Mom's favorite smells was "new crayon". I loved the crispness and perfection of those small sticks of color. I'm also strangely partial to "Sharpie" myself. Make it fun with snacks and music.
2) Start bringing bedtime down to a reasonable hour: Rather than forcing your kids to sleep at 8 when they'd been sleeping at 10 all summer, help them get used to sleeping early by sending them to bed 15 minutes earlier for couple nights, then another 15 minutes earlier and so on until they're sleeping by 8pm (or whenever.)
3) Start waking them up a little earlier: If they're going to bed earlier, it's only logical to wake them up earlier as well. You can make it special by bringing them breakfast in bed or having a breakfast picnic outside.
4) Have a dress rehearsal: Pretend it's the first day of school and have everyone get ready as if it were the real thing. Have a race to see who can get ready the fastest. Have a field trip that day.
5) Take them to see their new classroom: Especially if they're attending a new school, or making the leap to middle school (or even high school), knowing their way around school and where they'll be spending the next 10 months of their lives will inevitably save them from the embarrassment of getting lost and being late to class on the first day of school.
6) Review some of the things they learned the previous school year: Some parents are really good at continuing their child's education straight through summer. Some of us have good intentions but those long sunny days prove to be too tempting to spend indoors. Not to worry. In the week leading up to school, spend a little time having some refresher courses to jog the kiddos memory and help them feel prepared for the challenges of the next grade.
7) Create an advent calendar (like Christmas) counting down to the first day of school. Plan a fun activity on each day.
Most kids will probably be mourning the end of summer, but creating fun back-to-school rituals will both prepare your children and hopefully encourage them to look forward to hitting the books again.
What do you do in your family to prepare for getting back to the grind?