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Switching from the laid-back fun in the sun of summer to rules, homework, and routines can be a big jump for parents and children alike, but with a little preparation and the right attitude it doesn’t have to be so hard. The transition can be made a lot easier by making a few simple preparations and easing into the routines that will allow your child to start the school year off on the right foot. The most important thing is to encourage a positive attitude about the new school year and routine, and start the first week off the way you want the year to continue.
Start Adjusting the Sleep Schedule
Many adults and children have different schedules during summer vacation than they do during the school year. Bedtimes and wakeup times creep later or simply become irregular. Two of the biggest keys to a student’s success, though, are getting enough sleep and sticking to a consistent routine, so now’s the time to ease into the new fall schedule. Slowly move bedtimes and wakeup times back to what they should be during the school year. You can do this gradually over one or two weeks. If meal times or other regular routines have changed over the summer vacation, reset those as well.
Get the School Supplies and Study Area in Order
Obtain the class supply list and take a special shopping trip with your child. Having the right tools will help her or him feel prepared. While keeping basic needs in mind, allow for a couple of splurges like a cool notebook or a favorite-colored pen. If you don’t have a homework area set up yet, or if it’s been overtaken with toys, now’s a good time to organize and personalize that area with your child. Hang a bulletin board up with the school calendar and room for other reminders, desk trays or folders for storing project work, and, of course, pencils and other writing tools.
Ease Back to School Jitters
If the first few days are a little rough, try not to over react. Young children in particular may experience separation anxiety or shyness initially but teachers are trained to help them adjust. If you drop them off, try not to linger. Reassure them that you love them, will think of them during the day, and will be back. Personal notes or a family photo in the lunch box or book bag can help a child who is worried about starting the year. Let your child know that it is natural to be a little nervous anytime you start something new but that your child will be just fine once he or she becomes familiar with classmates, the teacher, and school routine.
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