By JJ Morrow, Boulder Head of School
We’ve all been there. There’s only a week left of summer. Your kids have been up until 10 pm with the summer sun. You usually trade bathing suits for pajamas sometime around mid-morning. You’ve been playing at the pool rather than playing math fact games. Now, you are out of time and out of routine and dreading the inevitable back-to-school morning battles.
Here are six tips to easing your family out of summer fun and into school mode, painlessly. The best part? You only need a week.
Readjust Sleep Schedules:
This is the number one thing to focus on as school day schedules approach. Begin to dial back bedtimes day-by-day, and start waking late sleepers closer to the time when they will need to get up for school. Fifteen minutes per day on both ends should do it.
Prepare Morning Routines:
If your child is currently relaxing in pajamas after breakfast, this would be the perfect time to get them used to finding their clothes and getting themselves dressed on time. Parents can also help their children develop responsibility by asking them to make and post a checklist of items to bring to school each day near where their items (backpack, shoes, coat, etc.) are staged.
Create A Family Calendar
The busyness of summer camps and play-dates will soon be replaced by the busyness of school events and practices. Create a centralized calendar for all family events and schedules. Make sure you leave room near the calendar for lunch menus, class lists, sports schedules, and key contact information related to school.
A major change for many children is the number of things he or she might need to self-manage while in school. You can help them get ready for this by dialoging before day one about the responsibilities that will likely be expected of him or her. Transitioning back to school is much easier if children get into a mindset of learning/relearning to manage their basic needs independently.
Back to Work
Hopefully your child has continued to read regularly throughout the summer months. If not, designate 20-30 minutes per day for read-alouds or independent reading. A common summer consequence is also back-slide in mathematical fluency (facts). Replace your nightly Uno game with Equate or IXL math online (www.ixl.com). Another helpful thing parents can do in the final week of summer is to set up a designated workspace for learners. Let the kids help decorate and choose needed supplies. This will be key for helping support their nightly and long-term projects at home.
Attending your child’s before-school parent/student/teacher conferences is the best way to build essential partnerships with teachers, staff, and administration. Use the conference time to share your child’s hopes, dreams, and possible anxieties about the upcoming year. Teachers know that parents hold essential information about what sets students up for success. Make sure you walk away from the conferences knowing how your child’s teacher would like to communicate and stay connected with you throughout the school year.
There are, of course, many other ways you can get your child ready for the start of school. Individuals also need different levels of support to manage the transition. If the above list seems even more overwhelming, remember that just being more mindful of the changes will help you prepare. If you, too, remember on day one to change out of your pajamas after breakfast you will already be ahead of the curve!