For many of us, school will be starting any day now. Shopping for gear, supplies and clothes is in full swing. Your child is probably having the time of his/her life at summer camp and on trips, but have you talked about school lately? You want to make sure your children are ready physically, emotionally and logistically for the academic year ahead. Here are three things you can do to ensure that they (and you) are prepared.
1. Talk it Out
Whether your child is returning to the same school or starting a new one, they may have mixed feelings and even anxiety about what awaits them. Take some time to talk about their feelings. If they aren’t forthcoming, be patient, ask questions, or try sharing your own childhood experiences to draw them out. If you sense a real reluctance, let them know that you are there for them, and encourage them to find another outlet, like a journal or a close friend or family member.
2. Sleep Schedules
Children’s sleep schedules can become lax over the summer. Don’t wait until the last minute to get things back on track. If necessary, spend several nights easing them into the school sleep schedule so that things are moving smoothly by the time classes start. Make it fun, awarding points for success. You wouldn’t want them stumbling in like a zombie into school on the first day, would you?
3. Do a Dry Run
The week before school starts, spend one morning pretending it’s a school day. This can be especially helpful if you have multiple kids, with one or more going to new schools. Wake them up on a school schedule, and have them get ready and out the door to the bus stop or the school at the allotted time. Of course, it’s not really happening, so you’ll be faking certain details – like the school bus not really coming, and the like – but this exercise can help you work out kinks with timing and other logistics. You may learn that you had it all worked out, but you could discover that you were a ½ hour short on time. Better to find that out now than on day one!