Summer is quickly winding down and families everywhere are preparing to go back to school. While the thought of carpool schedules, new school supplies, and upcoming homework battlers, this can seem like a stressful time for everyone. That’s why we’ve put together a list of tips to ensure a smooth back-to-school transition for the whole family.
- Start a sleep schedule- About a week before your child’s first day, begin a bedtime and wake up schedule that mimics their weekday routine. Not only is it important to institute a bedtime and wakeup time, but to ensure your children receive the recommended amounts of sleep. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention offers these guidelines
- Newborns: 16-18 hours of sleep/day
- Preschool aged children: 11-12 hours/day
- School-aged children: at least 10 hours/day
- Teens: 9-10 hours/day
- Adults: 7-8 hours/day
- Don’t skip breakfast- While mornings during the school year tend to be pretty hectic, it’s crucial that breakfast doesn’t get overlooked in the rush. In fact, research has shown that breakfast is the most important meal in relation to academic achievement, children’s health, cognitive development and mental health.
- Schedule checkups- Back-to-school time is the ideal time to make sure your child is in good physical and mental health, so children and teens should have annual medical and dental checkups. You should make sure you share any concerns you have regarding your child’s physical or physiological development; your pediatrician will be able to help you determine if these concerns require additional evaluation.
- Set after school rules- Before school starts, sit down as a family and establish the after school rules, including: when and where homework will be done, the amount of time that’s allowed for watching TV and playing games, and how many extracurricular activities, like sports or scouts, can be juggled. Once you have them set, write them down!
- Create a family calendar- Stay on track as a family by posting a calendar in a central area, like the kitchen, that lists each family member’s appointments, activities, upcoming projects, due dates and test dates. In addition to a family calendar, help your child develop a personal organization system to stay on top of assignments, tests, and other important dates.
- Provide summer closure- Ending the summer on a good note can help lay the foundation for starting the school year off on a good foot. This could be something simple like a backyard family barbeque or a end of summer trip.
- Involve the teachers – At the start of the semester, drop your child’s teacher a short note introducing yourself, and letting them know you are interested in receiving regular feedback on your child’s progress.
- Take time to listen- Invite your child to talk to you about his or her day and then practice active listening to their thoughts and feelings to show interest and curiosity, rather than judgment, about their social experiences.
Whether you can’t wait until your kids are back in school, or are dreading the more regimented days ahead, there’s one thing you can count on: going back to school is always a big transition!