Before you know it, your children are going to be heading off for school. After the long restful entertaining holidays, sending your kids back to school will bring forth a flurry of both positive and negative emotions for your kids as well as you. It means a complete change of routines for the entire family, from the late nights and outdoor play to a strict and more fixed schedule.Reena is already jittery. With just a fortnight of the holidays left, she is already worrying about how she is going to have her son back to the school time schedule. School days have always been a battle and a half, and now, since he has gotten extremely comfortable to the laid back vacation time late nights, junk food and frequent outings, she cannot help wondering how both she and her son are going to cope with the morning rush and other demands of school time.
Truly, once the summer holidays are over, both children and parents alike begin to look at the looming school year with trepidation. In the weeks leading up to the start of the new school term, there are various changes that parents can incorporate into their children’s schedules gradually to get them ready before the bell starts ringing!
Coax your child back from the lingering nights of summer to a regular bedtime. Begin by slowly adjusting the hour when your child goes to sleep and the time he wakes up in the morning. Each night, get your son ready for bed a few minutes earlier so that he will gradually ease into the school bedtime, which could be sometime between 8:00 to 9:30, depending on the child's age and specific needs. If you have not already done so, create a bedtime routine, including brushing teeth, selecting clothes for the next day and getting the school bag ready.
Reset Your Kid’s Internal Clock
If you have been letting your child sleep in late, you will need to ease your child into awakening earlier. Each morning wake him up a little earlier than normal, maybe with inducements keeping up with the ongoing holiday spirit. You may need to set your alarm clock a little earlier than normal too, so that you are also prepared to awaken and prepare your child for school on time.
Structure His Activities
In order to help your child make a smooth transition towards a customised school routine, structure his remaining days to prepare him for school. Encourage your child to play outdoors and indulge in rigorous activities like swimming and football, so that he gets tired easily and sleeps early with minimum effort.
A couple of days before school begins, gradually cut short the duration of his activities. Encourage him to find other amusements such as arts and crafts, writing or reading to retune his mind towards classes. You may need to assist him by giving him choices or inviting playmates over to participate in some of the games. If you have a pre-schooler or kindergartner child, playing with alphabets and word making is an ideal way to refresh the child's learning abilities.
Take advantage of this time together to talk about the approaching school term, and encourage him to ask questions or express concerns. Remind your child that although he will be at school on weekdays, you still have the evenings and weekends to do things together.
Restrict TV Viewing
An integral part of getting ready for going back to school is cutting down on television viewing habits formed during the summer holidays. You may help him select his favourite programs, and limit his viewing to these shows only. Prevent your child from watching television just before bedtime in order to help him sleep earlier.
Reintroduce Balanced Breakfasts and Meals
In keeping with the idea of getting him back to a school routine, reintroduce wholesome breakfasts and meals, preferably keeping in mind what he is likely to have during schooldays. So if he is used to having a glass of milk every morning before school which had been substituted for cool or aerated drinks recently, this is the time to get back to schedule. Cut down on the junk food intake as well.
Check your child’s stationary supply, water bottle straps, nametags, and so on together. Take him shopping for his school requirements, allowing him to choose some items such as a lunchbox, crayons or backpack. Not only will this help him accept the fact that school is just around the corner, but it will also make him get excited to use his new items.
Check His Homework
Re-examine his school diary and notebooks to check if any holiday homework has been forgotten or been complied improperly. This is also the time when you could reintroduce set homework hours by undertaking the checking of his books together at the predetermined 'homework time', say in the evenings.
Review Work to be Done in the Following Term
Help your child review the classes that shall be undertaken the following term. Appraise his academic skills and refresh his learning by setting him some parameters for study and self review. For small children, this could be done in disguise of play.
Interact With Other School Goers
Encourage your child to interact with his classmates about school, whether in person or over the phone, and maybe discuss homework or the forthcoming school term. Herein, you could contribute by calling over his school friends for play and snacks, and maybe participating in their discussions.
Split Responsibilities With Your Spouse
Before school starts, sit down with your spouse and decide which duties will be handled by whom. Decide who will be picking the kids or dropping them off to school and extra-curricular activities, who will help the kids with homework, who will fix their tiffins, who will get them ready for school, etc. to ensure no end minute mix-ups and confusions.
Speak with other parents to share experiences or anxieties about the new school year to help you to mentally prepare for the new term.
One needs to set certain guidelines and ease gradually into the transition of a predetermined fixed schedule. From adjusting the bedtime hour to reviewing academic skills, you can make some simple changes that will help your child transition from spontaneous summer fun to school readiness, with minimum fuss.