It's back to school, and for some it's a no-fuss transition. For a lot of kids, however, returning or just starting school can be emotional and stressful. There are a few tweaks you can implement to make it easier on your kids, and just as important, easier on you.
- Eyes on the Prize– If your child tends to be more on the shy side, don't emphasize "all the new friends!" she or he will meet on the first day of school. Instead, focus on things you know from past experience has been a win, no matter how small. Do her eyes light up getting to carry her new backpack into class? Does he love the apple juice box he gets at snack time? Focus on the little things you know are sure-fire wins to help get them excited about day one instead of stressed about it.
- Dress Rehersal– This one may seem overboard, but for many kids, a little trial run can help when the big day comes. A few days before the first day: get up, eat a school-day breakfast, get dressed in school-day clothes, grab the backpack and head on over. Troubleshoot possible tantrums and time wasters. Heck, even practice lining up and take a peek inside the classroom. When the first day of school rolls around, hopefully this process will feel more routine and comfortable.
- Brush Up– It's been a long, fun & sun-filled summer for most of us. We had the best intentions of going over numbers and letters, but sometimes campfires & s'mores got in the way... and that's okay. A few days before day one of school starts back up, take a little time to sing some ABC's, count to ten, and get back into play-based learning.
- Front Load Lunches– This one is for the moms and dads. If you're packing lunch for your little ones every day, consider a meal-prep method at the beginning of the week. Make 5 baggies of carrots, put 5 string cheeses aside, and throw all the 5-day essentials into one, easy-to-grab spot in the fridge. If you've got the room, consider dedicating an entire fridge crisper drawer to what we like to call the "lunch bucket."
- Don't Discount Fun at Home– Back to school can be stressful for some kids because they're concerned that all the fun with their parents and caretakers will all of a sudden come to an end. Make plans for summer-like activities after school so they know the summer doesn't have end in its entirety. There's still time for weekend swims ad ice cream runs after school.