- Get Organized. In the weeks before school starts, tidy up any loose ends to avoid frantic scrambling. This includes making sure kids complete required summer reading lists, buying school supplies, taking care of doctor’s appointments, etc.
- Address Important Issues. Evaluate the previous school year, and determine if your child had any academic or social issues that might need extra attention this year. For example, if a certain subject caused a lot of difficulty, ask around for a tutor reference. If your child struggled with peer pressure, talk to the school counselor for advice.
- Adjust Sleeping Schedules Early. Getting used to rising early for school can be one of the most challenging adjustments, often leading to grogginess and poor performance when it’s suddenly reintroduced. If your child was accustomed to sleeping until noon or going to bed late during the summer, encourage them to begin waking an hour earlier each day as well as going to bed at a reasonable time so they are properly acclimated once school begins.
- Create a Family Calendar. The refrigerator is a convenient place to establish a central location for families to mark important dates. This includes recitals, game days, big tests, and the like for kids, as well as important events and meetings for parents, so everyone can properly plan.
- Designate a Homework Spot. Since studying and doing homework after a summer away can be difficult for many children, it can help if they have a designated distraction-free zone, away from the computer, cell phone, and noise. It can be a nook in the kitchen or the home office desk from a set time each day, as long as it provides a focused space where the child can work.
- Set up Grab-and-Go Lunch Bins. Mornings can be stressful, so take the pressure off by preparing food for lunch in advance. Create 1 dry goods bin and 2 cold goods bin (for the fridge and freezer). For the dry goods, create portion-sized servings of crackers, pretzels, pre-packaged fruit cups, trail mix or granola, nuts, and a treat, and pack away in the pantry. For the cold refrigerator bin, pack up mini cups of hummus, chopped veggies, string cheese, and yogurt cups. For the freezer bin, prepare some PB&J sandwiches and some meat and cheese sandwiches. When morning rolls around, simply grab pre-packaged servings as needed from each bin.
- Give Kids a Treat. Regardless of how much preparation is done to make the back to school transition easier, it is nevertheless difficult to let go of lazy summer days. A simple yummy treat with a note of encouragement can help bring a big smile to any child’s face.
So, start the school year off on the right foot—with a little advanced planning.