Every August, millions of kids trudge to the bus stop in the early morning hours, dragging backpacks and lunch boxes and saying goodbye to summer vacation. Parents know that in a month or two, these same kids will settle into a routine and may even look forward to school, but in the meantime, what can parents do to beat the back-to-school blues?
In Psychology Today, Dr. Michael Unger argues that students don’t enjoy attending school unless they feel engaged in learning. The American Psychological Association also lists changing schools, taking tough classes and fearing unknown academic or social situations as reasons for children’s anxieties.
Whether your children dread starting school or simply miss summer fun, the following seven tips can help you make the process smooth, fun and hassle-free.
1. Set a routine.
During summer vacation, kids often stay up late, wake up late and spend their time however they want to, so a 6 a.m. wake-up call on the first day of school can feel miserable. Create a transition period by setting a schedule for the entire family one week before school begins, including bedtimes and mealtimes. The APA recommends organizing your children’s school supplies and walking with them to their classrooms and lockers ahead of time. Setting a routine doesn’t need to feel dull, though. Promise your kids a day trip or a special treat if they get out of bed on time, and they’ll associate their school schedule with fun.
2. Involve them in back-to-school planning.
Give your kids a reasonable amount of freedom to pick out their own clothing and school supplies. While you should guide them in following the school’s requirements and shopping for what they need, you can let them choose the colors, designs and styles that appeal to them. They can look for special accessories to decorate their lockers or cool new clothes that show off their personalities. This way, back-to-school shopping will be a joy, not a chore.