At Bernie’s, we realize that the transition from summer to the school year can often be a stressful one for both kids and parents. There are, however, a few very simple tips that can make this transition a whole lot easier on everyone.
1. Practice Self-Reliance
This is something we always promote at Bernie’s year-round, but it can really ease the stress of this transition particularly. Practice opening and closing lunch boxes, backpacks, and containers open sandwich bags and other food products you plan on packing, practice getting dressed and picking out clothes the night before. Feeling confident and prepared helps kids feel more excited than anxious about all the little tasks they are expected to do through the school day on their own and in front of their class.
2. Foreshadow the Routine- and Practice it together.
Explaining what their schedule might look like throughout the day helps them understand how to use their time in the best way. If they are taking a bus, make sure they know what time they are expected to be on it and what time it should arrive home each day (including where their stop is!). Whenever possible, take time over the summer to visit the school grounds and even play on the playground to allow children a sense of familiarity before school starts. It’s also important to make school-year expectations clear wherever children might seem conflicted in how to use their time. Program Coordinator Vicki Blum notes, “You can say to them very simply, lunch time at school is limited. I know that you want to socialize and play with your friends, but it is important to eat your food or your body will feel very hungry in the afternoon.”
3. Incorporate their choices into the change
In order to allow children a sense of ownership over their “back to school” belonging, promote an acceptable level of choice into their clothing and supplies choices. Label them clearly to avoid mix-ups and promote a sense of pride in their personal belongings that will hopefully encourage them to take good care of them as the year goes on. Be sure to explain clearly what parts of their school world will be “jobs” they are expected to preform (ie, clean-up time) and others where they will be able to make choices. Also, it is a great idea to pack multiple pairs of spare clothes to keep at school so they are free to engage in play-based learning outside of the classroom as well as in!
All in all, being ready for the school year in the early elementary stages is more about children being ready to learn than what they already know. If you are excited about the knowledge they will be exposed to the experiences they will have, more than likely, they will mirror your sediments.