While some children eagerly anticipate the beginning of school, many feel reluctant to leave a summer of unstructured fun behind. There are ways to ease the transition, allowing your child to gently adapt to the new routine.
1. Have your child visit the school and play in the schoolyard during the summer.
2. Learn which teacher your child will have, and meet your child’s teacher, if possible, before the first day of school. Communicate any concerns you have about your child’s transition to school.
3. Practice walking to school or to the school bus stop with your youngster. Make sure your child knows how he/she will be getting to school and returning home. Draw a map with your child illustrating the route from home to school.
4. Organize summer playmates with children who will be in your child’s school. Familiar faces in the classroom will be reassuring. If you don’t already know children who will be in your child’s class, call the school and ask for names and phone numbers.
5. Limit TV viewing and video games. Encourage other activities, such as arts and crafts, writing, board games, reading, new hobbies, music or sports.
6. Ease the transition to early morning awakening by gradually adjusting bedtime, allowing your child to prepare for bed a few minutes earlier each night. Reinforce a bedtime routine including bathing, choosing clothes for the next day, and reading.
7. Purchase an alarm clock for your child, and teach him/her how to use it. Practice waking up early enough to allow your child to calmly get ready for school.
8. Visit the local library and help your child check out books. Begin reading with your child each evening as part of his/her bedtime routine.
9. Help your child create a specific homework or study space and organize materials for school.
10. Take your child shopping for some special school purchases, such as a new backpack, homework supplies, a new lunchbox, or back-to-school clothes.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.