When we were kids, the sound of a morning bell at school would cause an eye roll and tummy ache (for me at least) [ya, I was weirdly nerdy and into that]. Fast forward to being an adult, the sound of that bell is pure bliss. Kids go to school, please… now. Love you – mean it!
Preparing for toddlers or young kids to go back to school can be exciting and also anxiety-inducing, for both the kids and parents. How do we help them, and us, prepare for real structure and a schedule again?
Going back to school means we get back to our reality. [although reality has been very odd the past 1.5 years] It’s our job to set routines, prepare them for change, encourage independent behavior, and acknowledge that they may worry… a lot.
Here are some things to start doing now so there is 50% less screaming and tantrums come the first day of school in a few weeks!
- Set routines – set the kid’s bedtimes and wake up times to what it will be for school at least two weeks ahead of the first day and have them get ready for the day like they would for school, this gets them used to the routine. [ok the waking up early part of going to school I did no like… i’m having traumatic flashbacks to mom trying to shake me awake]
- Change is cool – talk about what they can expect and what they should look forward to consistently, it builds excitement but also reduces their shock with change. It’s expected they will be anxious, so the more you talk about things the less anxiety that builds up in their little minds.
- Field trip – show them where they will be going so they can get used to their surroundings. This will help ease potential first day worries of being in a new place or for most kids, just not at home.
- Shopping (spree) – the BEST part of going back to school was always school supply shopping, so let them pick out a new lunchbox or items to get them geared up for the first day. [YES – start the OCD young! Six highlighters minimum!]
- Avoid burnout – for kiddos like mine, who are going in for a full day for the first time – don’t over schedule them. See how they do with just school for a month or so before adding in other after school activities.
- After school schedule – what will this look like for them? Snack, relaxing time, playing, or homework. Get them mentally prepared for how the afternoon will look, and factor in some down time to help with the transition.
Another benefit to starting school is a family re-set. The summers [or a long time being home in quarantine] allows for things to go off the rails and everyone to lose sight of one another. Starting school again means starting new or re-introducing old habits. Family dinners, less screen time, or even just talking about your day before the bedtime chaos starts.
What are some veteran parent techniques you have to get the kids ready for a new year? Share below!