- Family and Parenting
Tips for Making the Back to School Transition Easier
Back to School Tips
It’s that time of year again; the week where parents rejoice amid their child’s groans and grimaces. No more children wandering aimlessly through their homes surrounded by at least 20 different toys complaining they are bored or have nothing to do. No more summer camp prices and sunburns. You guessed it…it’s back to school! Can’t you just smell the newly sharpened pencils and the see the parents lining up to see who can save five cents on each box of crayons?
There is a palpable energy in the air as the kids and parents make there way to the stores to buy brand new supplies. You can almost feel the student’s nervousness as they wonder who their friends will be and what will their teacher be like? As both a parent and a teacher, there are many reasons why I look forward to this time of year including the reasons mentioned above. I have learned that there are a few simple things that make the transition from summer back to school easier on you and your children.
First and foremost, always be prepared. Don’t run out the night before school starts to buy all the school supplies. You will find yourself out with all the other procrastinators pawing through whatever supplies happened to be left over possibly causing you to not find all the supplies your child needs. There will always be that one random supply that the teacher finds necessary to specify a certain brand that takes going to 10 different stores to find. And yes while it seems like a major inconvenience to find these items the teacher has been through trial and error to find out which supplies are better than others. Running around last minute causes you unnecessary stress which your child then picks up on. So, unless you want to be sharpening pencils at midnight the night before filling your own house with the freshly sharpened pencil smell, be prepared.
Be prepared the morning of. Don’t wait until last minute to make lunches and pick out clothes the morning of. Take time the night before and have your child help you pick out the outfit they want to wear so in the morning it doesn’t become a battle. Also, make sure you have food for lunches in the house and ready to go. No child wants some dry cereal and raisins because that was all that was left in the house. There are many great pins on Pinterest with great, healthy lunch ideas.
Secondly, take the time to talk to the teacher and ask any questions you may have. It will make you feel better knowing you are leaving your child in qualified hands. Also, if you are financially able, ask the teacher if there is anything else they need and then go get it. There are always supplies that a teacher ends up buying with their own money. As a teacher, this gesture is so appreciated and helpful to any classroom. You can’t go wrong with a gift card to Target or any other teacher oriented store such as Lakeshore Learning. Hint hint: it may even make the teacher look more kindly on your child, at least in the beginning!
Third and this is geared to the parent’s of young children, please don’t linger around for 20 minutes waiting to see if your child has stopped crying or has already met her new best friend. I know how hard it is to walk away, I’ve been there, but it takes even longer for him/her to get adjusted and stop crying if they can see you and the anxiety written all across your face. My advice is to tell them ahead of time what is going to happen and reassure them they you will in fact be coming back. Tell them how many hugs and kisses they are going to receive and then stick firmly to it. I wrote a heart on the palm of my daughter’s hand when she started kindergarten so she could look at it and know that I was thinking of her. Trust that the teacher does this every year and is prepared to comfort your child and make the transition easier on all parties involved. They don’t want to hear your child screaming all day either.
Fourth, make sure everyone gets a good night sleep starting the week before. It is hard to transition from long summer nights and lazy mornings to getting up early and having to get going right away. Unless you want the mornings to become a battle zone, I highly recommend sticking with this one through out the year. It also makes time in the classroom harder on the students if all they can think about is how tired they are. For the littler ones, there is a noticeable difference in behavior for those children who are well rested and those who aren’t. Trust me the teacher knows who the night owls are and unless you enjoy talking to the teacher about why you perfect little gift is suddenly turning into the incredible hulk, please allow a good night’s sleep.
Finally, make the first day of school as exciting and special as you can. The more excited you are, the more excited your children will be. I took my daughter out for ice cream when she met her teacher and after the first day of school. It gives them something to look forward to. Another good idea is letting your child pick out their favorite meal for dinner. There is nothing more comforting than your favorite foods after what can be a stressful day.
You can also find some more great “expert” tips at www.nasponline.org. Happy school days!