For many children school is right around the corner. Some kiddos may be attending for the very first time; some may be attending a new school, while some will return to the school they attended the year before. This exciting phase involves a stack of new school clothes and a backpack exploding with fancy new school supplies. It is important to prepare the children now for their new routine before school starts, so that everyone is good to go when the big day arrives.
Tips for First Timers
Has your child started preschool or kindergarten? If so, congratulations as your kiddo is getting older and about to start an exciting learning adventure!
Practice your morning routine a few days before the big day:
- Set their alarm clock (or yours) to go off as it will when school rolls around.
- Go through their new morning routine completely, explaining each step. For example, get them up and have breakfast. Say something like this will be what we do first every morning before school.
- Next, brush those teeth, wash their face, get them dressed, and comb that hair. Explain that you will not have time to dawdle, but need to focus on the task of making it to the car or bus on time.
- Have them put on their shoes and backpack, and load them in the car or walk to the bus stop. If you will drive your little one to school, make the trip, and say, “and this is where you will get out and go in for your big day!” Keep it positive and happy, and get them excited.
- Throughout your day, tell them about what you think their day will be like. At lunch you could say, “This is when you will be eating your lunch at school. It will be exciting to sit with your new friends and eat in the school cafeteria.”
- Set a bedtime routine and get them accustomed to it ahead of time. Keep in mind that experts suggest that preschoolers ages 3 to 5 get an average of 11-13 hours a day (this can include a nap time). Kids ages 5 to 10 years need an average of 10-11 hours of sleep a day.
Tips for Older Kids
Even older kids should get used to a back to school bedtime several days before school starts. After a summer of staying up late, it can be hard for them to start going to be at their regular time. You don’t want them exhausted and walking around school like a zombie the first week, so start that school bedtime a week (or two) before the big day.
- Make sure your older kids know how they will get to school each day. If you have to, write it down on the fridge. Between the bus, carpools with other parents, after school activities, and so on the commute to and from school can change daily for older kids. Getting that call when you are stuck at work that they thought you were picking them up when they should have been on the bus is not fun. Make sure everyone has the schedule on how kids are getting around.
- If your kids will be making their own lunch or purchasing one at school, set some ground rules. Some middle schools and high schools sell bags of chips, beef jerky, chocolate muffins, and sugary drinks. Lot of kids skip the balanced meal on a tray and instead have junk for lunch. Parents send lunch money and assume that their kids are eating a meal, never suspecting that lunch consisted of sour cream and onion chips and a sports drink. If your kids take lunch money, set some rules. Tell them they need to eat a tray lunch, and only have one of those extra items once or twice a week. If they pack their lunch buy fruits and vegetables that they like, and peek in their lunch box occasionally to make sure it isn’t filled with stuff straight from the snack drawer. Keep in mind that some schools may check student’s lunch boxes to make sure kids are eating well, and that some foods like peanut butter may not be allowed at all.
- Set up a homework area. This can be as simple as a desk and chair in the corner of their bedroom, or a clean mess free space beside the family computer. Set rules, like all homework must be done before computer time, video games, television… Never budge on this rule and doing their homework first will become second nature. Your kids’ grades (and teachers) will thank you!
How are you preparing your kids for school? Do you have a great tip that other parents could benefit from? Leave a comment and let us know!