It’s hard to believe that August is almost over! Before you know it, the back-to-school rush will be upon us, and it never hurts to have a few tricks up your sleeve. Here are five simple ways to ease back into school mode.
1. Gradually adjust bedtimes
It is unlikely that your kids will be able to shift from a late summer bedtime to an 8:30pm bedtime right away. About two weeks before school, begin making bedtime about 15 minutes earlier so that they grow accustomed to the new schedule. Explain to your child that sleep is crucial for her health and should not be seen as a bummer, but a welcome relief. If parents begin to wind down at the same time, this will also help send the message that everyone is heading to bed, and they aren’t missing out on the action.
2. Decide on a morning routine and stick to it
Make a plan for showers, packing lunch, sports bags & homework, and eating breakfast. Have a chalkboard or whiteboard for your kids so they can make checklists about what they need to accomplish each morning. Make sure they know it’s important to come to breakfast right when it’s ready so they are not late. Having a set routine is the best way to combat the grogginess of early mornings.
3. Start the year with clear expectations
Sit down with your kids and lay out the rules for the coming school year when it comes to electronic usage, playdates or junk food. Make sure they have an understanding of what you expect of them.
4. Become acquainted with teachers and parents
You’ll feel more at ease sending your child off every day if you know the teacher and the class environment that he or she creates. It’s also nice to know a few parents who you can rely on in case of an emergency or for more convenient carpooling. Developing this familiarity with the school community is a great way to start the year, even if you don’t have time to attend as many events as you’d like.
5. Set up a clean, quiet workspace
Having a dedicated workspace gives students a sense of purpose and consistency when it’s time to do homework. Make sure they have a space just for them with the proper materials and supplies. If your child has ADHD and/or is especially distracted by noise and movement, ensure that his homework space is removed from any commotion.
Rose Howell is an Academic Liaison at Thinking Caps Group, a unique tutoring company that takes an individualized approach to creating independent learners.
Alexandra Mayzler is the founder of Thinking Caps Group. She is also the author of several books including ACT Demystified (McGraw-Hill 2013).