Although the calendar (and weather!) still clearly indicate it’s summer, it’s time to start thinking about the fall a.k.a back to school. And while many are excited about the return of a “normal” routine, it’s often a stressful and busy time for parent and child alike.
Reduce the stress and overwhelm of the new school year with these simple but effective tips.
Do A Dry Run.
Make sure you go by the school before the first day as you’ll want to see how long it takes you to get there and give you an opportunity to become familiar with dropoff and pick up procedures. This is especially important if you are going to a new school or now have multiple stops in the morning (say an elementary school and a middle school).
See how long it takes you to get to each stop and what delays you might expect along the way. Keep in mind, there will be a lot more traffic on the first day of school so add extra time to your dry run.
Also, practice dropoff. Do you park and walk your child in? Is there a dropoff circle? Where will you pick your child up? Answering these questions in advance will help alleviate your child’s fears and eliminate stress for you.
Go all out on your dry run. Set the alarm, go through your morning routine, and get in the car. Then, celebrate by driving to the park for the morning.
Do some prep work.
You know all those school supplies you bought? A few days before school starts, get them ready. Take the tags off new clothes, backpacks or lunch bags. Put pencils and pens in the pencil box and make sure everything is labeled with your child’s name. Doing it early will make the evening before the first day less stressful as you’ll be busy doing other things.
For instance, the night before, have clothes laid out and lunches packed. Have healthy and quick breakfast options ready like these mini egg muffins. You can make a big batch in advance of school starting and freeze them.
Start adjusting to your family’s school time schedule.
For many families, their summer schedule is different than their school year schedule. A week before school starts, start going to bed and waking up at the time you’ll need to when school starts. The first few days of school will be busy and it’s best if everyone is well-rested and acclimated to the new sleep schedule.
Get your child a check up.
Make sure your child has all necessary vaccinations and an up-to-date physical as many schools require this for attendance. The school year is busy enough. It’s best not to start the year by missing class for a doctor’s appointment.
You should also consider scheduling an eye exam. The American Optometric Association recommends children have at least one eye exam between the ages of 3 and 5. Additionally, an exam is recommended before entering first grade and then annually thereafter.
Begin easing fears.
School supply shopping, clothes shopping, haircuts, etc. Back to school can be stressful for adults but don’t forget to consider the stress your child is experiencing. Moving to a new class can be overwhelming for kids. They have a new classroom to learn, new teachers, new kids and new (and more challenging) schoolwork.
Take some time to begin easing your child’s fears a couple of weeks before school starts. Find out if your child knows anyone in their new class. Call around. Maybe someone from last year or a neighbor will be in your child’s class this year. Knowing they’ll have a familiar face can go a long way to easing nerves.
Additionally, talk to your child about what they can expect. Get them excited by sharing new things they’ll learn or reminding them about how much fun they have on the school playground. In addition to the school shopping list, let them pick out one fun thing. Maybe splurge on a new lunchbox or a new pencil box. Little things like this can add excitement to the start of the school year.