The transition period from the summer break back to school time can be quite a struggle for kids, youngsters in particular. The relatively unregulated, free, playtime feeling of summer clashes with the more rigorous, structured environment of school. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make this changing period a bit easier on your children, and yourself.
Help them adjust
Many children express concerns and fears about the upcoming new year in school. Make sure you patiently listen to all of their little qualms and take the time to reassure them even in their worries. Then remind them of all of the positive and exciting things about going to school which they have been missing during their breaks such as friends, favorite classes, or any loved activity they have had to do without the past few months.
Once the idea of school is interesting and fun, the whole process of adjustment becomes so much easier for everyone.
Space things out
Try starting off by introducing the new change of pace a week or so early, especially if school time poses a drastically different schedule than that of summer. Introducing eating and sleeping routines are particularly effective ways to introduce some structure to what could have been an unstructured summer.
Setting consistent sleeping and waking times also adds to the likelihood that children will be getting enough sleep to keep them alert through the day. By having meals roughly at the same time every day your new school year routine will fall right into place. Remember, a nutritious breakfast every morning really helps your kids (and you) start the day right.
Time for school
In the first few weeks of school, start promoting practical planning habits and encourage your children to maintain them during the entire school year.
Help them plan ahead. Have your children make schedules for their classes and regular extracurricular activities. If it isn’t already required by your child’s school, a notebook dedicated as a homework planner can make a world of difference. Your child can use their planner every day to keep track of all their scholastic responsibilities; assignments, due dates, upcoming exam periods, extracurricular and special events, they can all be recorded and reviewed in one place. Allow them to decorate the notebooks according to their taste and make them their own.
Encourage and enable your child to begin to take responsibility for their own commitments and work. Knowing it is not Mommy’s job to know and finish homework fosters opportunities for personal growth. Not only does this help build their independence, but seeing and experiencing the fruit of their accomplishments will boost their self-confidence as well.
If your child has difficulty focusing on their homework, assigning a specific time and place as the “homework spot” could be particularly useful. Whether it is the kitchen table at 7, or the living room couch at 8– having a consistent time and space associated with concentration and focus on homework is what does the trick.
Another great habit is preparing for the coming day every night before going to bed. Have your child compile all the things necessary for the upcoming day, including homework assignments, what they will be wearing, and musical instruments or sports equipment for extracurriculars. This is one of the best ways to avoid nervously scrambling in the mornings.
It can be very easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the back to school craze, but like most other things, taking a step back and approaching the transition with small, thoughtful steps can make it much simpler and far less stressful for all parties involved.
With all the things to prepare for with school in mind, don’t forget to make sure your child has been approved for their school physical.
Schools require all of their students to pass a set of general medical requirements including updated immunization records before admission, and usually after every three years of attendance. At FirstMed we offer School Physical examinations catering to the particular requirements for your school.
Of course, you don’t have to wait for a mandatory school physical to check up on your child’s health. Our ‘Well Child Check’ is a comprehensive, preventive health examination during which your healthcare provider reviews the growth and development of your child, updates their list of vaccinations, and provides you with the opportunity to discuss any further questions or concerns, giving you advice on healthy life choices for your child.
While Well Child Checks include a far more detailed medical review than School Physicals, the requirements of School Physicals are met during a Well Child Check. Whether you would like a brief, short examination for the sake of your school, or an comprehensive assurance of your child’s well-being, the friendly pediatricians at FirstMed would be pleased to work with you.