You can’t miss the fact that it’s almost time to go back to school. The sales flyers and posters are everywhere. But shopping is only part of the preparation. There are some things we can do to ease the end of the summer holidays and make the transition back to the classroom run smoothly.
Getting Ready for Back to School
In less than two weeks kids will be back to school. Imagine. School will have started, you survived day 1 and are now ready for yet another school year. How well the start of school goes for you and your children depends a lot on what you do now. There are things you can be doing over the next few weeks to make the transition from your summer schedule to the school year easy and fun.
Sit down with the kids and make a list of the summer holiday plans you talked about in the Spring. What remains on the list? Set priorities for the remaining activities. What do you want to ensure you do before school starts? Whether it’s a nature walk, a day at the beach or getting to see a movie, schedule a time to make sure it happens. There is nothing worse than getting to the end of a long summer only to realize that you never got to the things you wanted to do.
This is also the time to make sure your kids know how to get to school. If your child is entering school for the first time or attending a new school, they will need to learn the route. For most of our urban kids, elementary school is just a walk away. For teens, it may well involve a bus. If at all possible, enlist the parents of other kids in the neighbourhood in this plan. It’s important that kids learn how to get themselves to school, but it takes some teaching.
School likely represents the first time your children will be away from constant direct supervision and you will not only not know what they are up to all day, you won’t have a way to find out everything. It’s not like daycare or preschool. They will make friends you will never meet; will do things you’ll never discover (be honest now, what did you do at school you still haven’t told your parents?). It’s time to start letting go. It’s time for our children starting to handle their world, on their terms. And getting themselves to and from school is also part of that. During the walk or bus ride to school kids can make the transition from being your child to being Mrs. Simpson’s student. It’s not unlike the transition you need to make when traveling from work to home.
It’s difficult for children to sit still (Now there’s a revelation!). When they walk to school they are guaranteed to do better in class because they will have had some exercise before they are expected to sit at their desk and pay attention.
Now that it’s close to the start of school it’s a good idea to shift the daily schedule. . That means going back to regular bedtime and getting up in the morning. If they have been sleeping in every morning for the past two months, it’ll be challenging to get them up and moving on time without some preparation. Have some great plans for the few mornings before school starts so they can get used to the new regime.
If your kids are going to a new school, hold off on the clothes buying. Wait until the first weekend so your kids have a chance to see what the other kids are wearing in this new environment. There’s nothing worse than outfitting a child for school only to have them announce on day 3 that nothing looks okay and they simply will not wear any of their new clothes.
On that first weekend also sit down with the kids and take a look at the week. How did it go? What worked and what needs tweaking? No plan is set in concrete. Figure out what works for your family and life will run more smoothly.
Bringing Parenting Today to your event.
Parenting Today is keen to speak as part of your professional development event, parenting workshop or workplace wellness support program. I offer keynotes and workshops, have written books and have ongoing newspaper columns, books, blogs and newsletters. And, no matter what the actual topic, they all share a basic value that I call
P — is a parenting plan
U — is unconditional love
R — is respect for your child as he is right now
E — is encouragement
These make up the framework of any resources that will come from Parenting Today. These four pillars are the essential ingredients for raising healthy children who will develop into capable young men and women.
I’ll be in Toronto September 8 to 10 and in Winnipeg from December 2 to 4. I am happy to extend these trips if you wish to book an event. I will also be in Calgary and can coordinate that trip to meet your scheduling needs.