The back-to-school season is equal parts tiring and fun. There’s so much to do, but through it, all is the exciting buzz of anticipation for the school year ahead. The younger your children are, the more opportunities there are to create back-to-school traditions that will make the end of August something to look forward to rather than panic about. By planning as much as possible, you can make the transition enjoyable rather than stressful.
Get Your Child Up to Speed During the Summer
If you or your child are feeling anxious about the first day of school, it may help to start educating them during the summer. That doesn’t mean holding school-like sessions that are hours long during July and August, though. Instead, incorporate education into fun activities. For example, if your child is starting kindergarten, play games that teach them the alphabet, shapes, and colors. You can also take advantage of the summer to encourage your child to socialize more, which can help them feel less anxious about meeting new kids when the school year starts.
Amp Up Back-to-School Shopping
Before the school year starts, you have to buy new clothes and stock up on school supplies and essentials. While that’s fun for kids (especially the clothes part), it also signals the end of free-to-do-anything summer days. This is a great time to give your kid a treat that’s not related to school. If they have a hobby they picked up over the summer, encourage them to continue by signing them up for classes or buying them an item that will help them throughout the year. For example, if they started to learn an instrument, sign them up for weekly lessons. If they rode their bike a lot during the summer, get them a new bike accessory or gear.
Start a Back-to-School Tradition With Your Kids
A lot of kids do the traditional back-to-school shopping with their parents toward mid- or late-August, but there are other traditions you can start that are more specific to your family. Here are a few ideas:
- Throw a back-to-school party with school friends, parents, and your family members.
- Pack extra special lunches for kids during their first week that features all of their favorite foods.
- Take the whole family out for a special dinner after your child’s first day, or get up extra early and go to breakfast the morning of.
- Some kindergarten teachers let parents join their kids for lunch for the first few days to ease the transition – make sure to show up!
- Plan a special weekend getaway after the first week or month of school to celebrate a job well done.
As the years go on and your child gets older, you can update the tradition. For example, you may have taken your elementary-aged child out for a big pancake breakfast on the first day of school, but teens may prefer a trip to a cool coffee shop instead.
Take Care of Yourself, Too
Your child’s schedule isn’t the only one that’s about to change with the impending school year. You may be heading back to a heavier workload, too, or maybe there’s just more to do with pickups, drop-offs, after-school activities, and more. Before the school year is in full swing, take some time for yourself. Plan a spa day or go away for a short, grownups-only trip. Also, think about the year to come and decide which aspects of it will be the most difficult. For example, if sports schedules will make it hard to cook dinner some nights, sign up for a meal delivery service. If you’re worried that you’ll have to give up your daily workouts, take a week to scope out running trails near your house.
You may have spent a ton of time with your kids during the summer, but now that they’re going back to school, you may feel a loss of control. Even though you’ll be relying on your children’s teachers to fill you in on what you need to know, it’s important to know your rights, too. You can access your children’s records in order to see their grades, as well as any information about an Individualized Education Program (IEP) if your child has a disability. Keeping track of their IEP program can alert you to issues that you need to address. For example, if your child isn’t getting the help they need, you may want to seek out an alternative school or program. Parents can also request that student record errors be corrected, and they can manage the identifiable information that’s disclosed on school records.
Have a Great School Year
The start of school also means the end of summer, which can leave some kids worried about what’s right around the corner. The new school year also means seeing old friends and making new ones, wearing brand new clothes and becoming more independent as a child grows up. There’s so much to look forward to that it’s definitely possible to make this an exciting, not sad, time of year.
What are your thoughts? Please share in the comments below. I really would love to know.
Until next time, shine amongst the stars!
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