It’s officially August, which means school is right around the corner! For you parents out there who have school-aged kids, you know that this time can be emotional for you and your kids. The kids likely don’t want summer to end, but you might be excited to finally get them out of the house and back to a regular eating and sleeping routine.
Even for parents who have sent their kids back to school countless times, the beginning of the school year always seems to creep up unexpectedly. With only a few weeks to prepare, this time gets a bit chaotic. However, by keeping track of what needs to be done, you can start this school year off on the right foot. Here are seven ways to prepare your kids for back to school.
Reestablish Routine and Structure
Kids need routine and structure in their lives. During the summer, the typical school routine likely stops for most kids. Summer is a time for relaxation and fun. However, this can make it challenging for kids to jump back into a routine once the school year begins.
Slowly make a transition starting a few weeks before school starts. Put them to bed at a school night bedtime and set the alarm for the morning. Make a structured morning routine for them, including getting dressed, hygiene items, eating breakfast and ensuring they have everything for school.
Offer Them Nutritious Meals
During summer, kids may snack more than usual and have more unhealthy food choices, especially if you go on vacation or allow them to visit the ice cream truck. Also, they may not be on a regular eating schedule. On school days, most kids will eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with occasional snacks.
Begin offering your kids more nutritious meals and snacks to prepare them for a great school year. Eating a healthy diet can improve overall health, and it improves their academic performance. Provide regular family meals packed with nutritious foods like protein and vegetables. Stock up on healthy snacks, too.
Ensure They’re Socializing
Another preparation tip for heading back to school is ensuring your kids are socially active. The pandemic has undoubtedly taken a toll on kids, especially those who have missed out on social interaction of any kind.
Try to get your kids together with some of their friends safely and healthily. Video calling is beneficial, but they need in-person interactions if your kids are going back to school in person. Maybe they can meet up outside and go for a walk, ride their bikes or just talk together. Encourage them to socially distance and wear masks, too.
Gather School Supplies
What’s another school year without gathering school supplies? Your child will need new supplies for school, like a backpack, notebooks, pencils, folders and even clothes and shoes. Take your kids on a back-to-school shopping trip a few weeks before the start of the school year. This will get them thinking about and excited for the new school year.
Many teachers, especially those in elementary schools, will often provide a list of the necessary back-to-school supplies your child needs for the classroom. If your child is going back to in-person classes, make sure you give them plenty of masks if necessary, as well as hand sanitizer. Label their supplies, too, to ensure that they don’t get misplaced or lost. If your child is still doing classes online, they may need different supplies.
Limit Their Screen Time
Start limiting your child’s screen time. Once they start school, they won’t have as much time to spend on their phones, tablets or televisions. Instead, they’ll need to get into a routine of completing homework and spending time with family. Have dedicated screen-free time during typical after-school hours.
Use this extra time now for educational purposes or for activities that don’t involve screens. Your kids can read, go for a walk, play board games or do any other screenless activity your family enjoys. To make this easier for them, have the whole family go unplugged at a particular hour every night.
Talk About Any Worries or Jitters
Most kids this year are returning to school in person for the first time in over a year. Kids have become used to the new normal of attending school from home online. Now, there’s another new normal for these students, and it will be different from before COVID-19 because there will be new regulations, like mask-wearing, sanitizing and social distancing.
Normalize your kids’ worries. Connect with your kids and ask them how they’re feeling about this upcoming school year. Once school starts, ask them open-ended questions about their day. Teach them ways to calm their nerves and help them cope with their jitters.
Have an End-of-Summer Celebration
Finally, end the summer with a celebration for your kids. Get in a few of those last-minute summer activities. Have a campfire, go swimming, spend those last few days with your kids, soaking up summer before the new school year.
While you’re celebrating the end of summer, celebrate the start of school as well. Offer your kids some educational gifts, like the backpack they really wanted or the new first-day-of-school outfit that they can show off to all of their friends. It’s going to be an amazing year for your kids!
A New School Year Means New Beginnings
This past school year has been like no other. This one will likely be the same as students, teachers and parents navigate heading back to school in person. Take a few weeks to prepare your kids for this school year and encourage them throughout the year.