If you’re like many of the parents I know, your schedules can become a little lax from June to August when school is out. It can be hard to break away from that, but there does come a time when it’s a good idea to start getting kids back into a routine before school starts. In fact, that time is now. Not only will doing so help them adjust to the new school year, but it also will likely help you, too!
Setting the Schedule
This doesn’t have to be a summer-altering event. Try to get their sleep schedule back in the school groove about a week before classes start. This means sending them to bed at your agreed-upon time and waking them up when they would normally have to get up to get to school on time. This makes the transition a little easier for those of you with a child who’s not a morning person, which may make the school days a little less stressful for you.
It’s also a good idea to serve your children lunch around the time they’ll be eating lunch at school and make dinner around the time you normally make dinner during the school year. All of this should be done about a week before classes start to normalize it again for them.
Get Them Excited About School
You can start this immediately, assuming you already haven’t. One of the most wonderful things about children is it’s pretty easy to get their support for fun activities, and it’s usually easy to get them excited if you’re excited. Get them involved in back-to-school preparation! Take them to get school supplies. Let them pick out their lunch boxes and backpacks. When you go shopping for school items, make a day of it and take them to lunch or a movie. They’ll look back on those memories fondly and associate them with going back to school, which not only extends the important family time you have, but also gets them excited about the adventure to come.
Talk to Them if They’re Nervous
While many children look forward to the start of school, there are many who are anxious about it. They don’t know who their teacher will be or who will be in their classes. They’re uneasy about leaving you all day, especially if they have siblings who stay home with you. In these cases, the best thing you can do is talk to your children early about the start of school and try to allay their fears and concerns.
Dr. Wright is a board-certified pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold’s Summer Creek Clinic in Humble. Child obesity, newborn care, and ADHD are among her top clinical interests. Being around kids makes every day at work fun for her.