Four Tips for Easing Into Back-to-School Mode
Written by Irene Byrne
As the long, lazy days of summer come to an end, families all over the country begin to think about going back to school. Easing back is key here and should start well before the first day back. We have all heard the advice of not waiting until the last minute, but do not always know where or when to start. Here are a few tips to help you in the process.
1. Create a calendar for the family at the start of summer (bookmark this for next year) and post it where everyone can see. Research tells us that visual cues (for younger children use pictures) aid with planning and transition. So, let’s give it a shot. Even if you only have a few weeks or even days left now, create a calendar. It is not too late! Highlight all the fun events and the dates for back-to-school shopping and preparation. Make it fun!
2. Give everyone the responsibility of figuring out what they need. Even preschoolers may need a new lunch box, water bottle, or backpack! By engaging them in the process, you give them control and that is key to becoming independent in life. It is also a way to help them start to adjust to back-to-school life. Your college kids need this also. With them, there is the extra layer of checking email correspondence. As young adults it falls squarely on their shoulders, and you do not usually receive those emails!
3. Start the process of adjusting the morning schedule so that the first day back is not a shock to everyone’s system. Treat it a little like jetlag and know that you just must work through it. For younger children, have them get up at the school wake-up time at least one week before school starts. Encourage them to get dressed, get their things together and have breakfast in a timely manner. Carpool/bus waits for no one. I know this from experience! You will be thankful that you did all of this on that first day.
4. Lastly, make back to school something to enjoy, not dread. We all thrive with a regular routine and school is where everyone gets the necessary foundation to be successful in life.
About Irene Byrne
Irene has spent her career in the field of education at both the early childhood and college levels. She has published several books and is currently working on the latest edition of Preschools by the Bay, a guide to preschool for bay area families.