Setting Up For Back-to-School Success
FYI: There are 2 freebie links in this blog post for your family!
Are you getting all those back-to-school emails flooding your inbox? I know that I am, and it has caused me some anxiety. Making sure we have all the forms filled out properly, physicals completed, PTA memberships paid, school supplies purchased...the list goes on. Besides our feelings and the huge checklists for us adults, our children are experiencing their own emotions. Back to school can bring on excitement and stress for our children. I am here to help you get organized so that you can be on your way to a less stressful school year kick off!
"A child wants some kind of undisrupted routine or rhythm. He [they] seems to want a predictable, orderly world. - Abraham Maslow
- Get back in routine
- Summer can often have us going to bed later and waking up later, so now is the time to get sleep back on track. Give your child a 2-week buffer before school starts and begin the process of getting back on sleep schedules.
- Discuss school day expectations - When is bedtime? What time is wake-up time? What does morning routine look like (bed made, brush teeth, breakfast, etc.)? Who will be responsible to make school lunches - your child or you? What are the after school expectations (homework, snack, activities, etc.)?
- Review schedules
- Discuss with your child their transportation schedule. Whether it's by car, bus, bike, or walking, there will be a time to leave and a time to return. There will be expectations of what's in hand to leave the house and what is expected to be brought home -sit down and review these with your child. Be sure to find the bus stop, practice the bike trip or walking path together, before the first day.
- For middle school and high school students, be sure to print and look over daily schedule of classes. If you are able, attend a school tour beforehand and do a walkthrough of your child's classes. "How are you feeling about your new classes/teachers? How are you feeling about changing classrooms/schools?"
- Get organized
- Print out school schedules and discuss with your child. Hang in a central location in your home and place another copy in your child's backpack.
- Print out the school year calendar and discuss anything big your child should know (ie: school holidays/breaks, semesters, etc.). Hang in a central location in your home.
- Shop together for your school supply list.
- Have a designated place to hang backpacks and go over exceptions of packing and unpacking backpacks.
- Checklists! I love a good visual checklist! We hang one on the door my children leave from that says what they need for school, for example: backpack, mask, laptop, laptop cord, homework, water bottle, lunch, coat. Visuals work really well for most kids.
- Set up a designated homework area with supplies. "Where would be the best place for you to focus on your homework?"
- Connect with your child
- Ask your child how they are feeling about the start to school. "What feels exciting to you?" "What feelings concerning to you?"
- Goal setting is a great way to begin the year, if this is age appropriate for your child. Here is a link to my SMART goals free resource. "What do you want to get better at this school year?"
- Discuss who your child can go to if they need help, including: parents/caretakers, teachers, counselor, principal, peers, etc.
- Encourage your child to get involved with extra curricular activities. Many are right in your schools, including: clubs, sports, art classes and more! Look over them together and discuss what they'd like to try! "What activities do you want to participate in this year?"
To recap the above:
We are working ahead of the start to the school year to get our family on the same page with routines, schedules, and organization. We are connecting and listening to our children's feelings. You will not want to do all of this at once - as that would be quite overwhelming for your child and you. Spread it out within the couple weeks before school begins. I can assure you that this will reduce the back-to-school stress and set up your family for a successful start!
Do yourself a huge favor and check-in after a the first few weeks or so with the routines that you set up.
- Are you sticking to all that you worked so well to set up?
- Are you following through with those bedtimes and wake times?
- Are routines working or do you need to make some tweaks?
- Is your child doing homework in their special area?
Sometimes we work so hard to set these things up and then, well, life gets busy and we let things go. So keep checking in, add reminders on your own calendar to assess how things are going. Sticking to those routines and schedules, staying organized, and checking in and connecting with your child, will support a calmer, more positive household.
Wishing you a fabulous kick off to the new school year.
P.S. Here are some fun conversation cards for your family! A great way to continue connecting throughout the year.