Summer is winding down. For some of us, we can’t wait until it is over and we are back to our routine. Others of us, we are dreading the change. We wish it could go on for a little longer. Whichever camp you are finding yourself in, the reality is, school is upon us. It is time to get ready. It’s time for “Back to School Boot Camp.”
Back to School Boot Camp is more than getting ready for school by getting our backpacks filled with new school supplies, buying new clothes and uniforms, and other essential items to help our kids start off the year on the right foot.
There are other important areas of preparation that our family engage in to get ready for school. These five tips will help your family start out strong as you all adjust back to school schedule.
Back to School Boot-Camp:
It sounds all serious, but it isn’t. But, it is very different from the summer days, so I call it a “boot camp”.
It is a condensed, intentional week of getting back to the normal school and family routine before the first day of school. It is not just for our kids – it is for the entire family because we’ve enjoyed operating on a different rhythm over the summer and we need to reset.
Reset Internal Clock:
We begin resetting our kids’ internal clock a week before school starts. It means no more late nights and our mornings start earlier. Our kids have to be at school by 7:45 a.m. For some of you, this might not be an issue, but for our kids getting up is a challenge. They love sleeping in and having slow mornings. We don’t want them to have a rude awakening the first day of school, so we begin resetting our bodies to wake up by 6:45 a.m.
Practice your Morning Routine:
If you anticipate some changes in your morning routine, it is helpful to do some practice runs. For example, will dad be no longer available in the morning to make hot breakfasts as before? Is there a new baby in the house and mom is less available in the morning? Maybe you have decided that it would be good for your kids to sack their lunches a couple of days a week. It is good to practice new morning routines together as a family so that everyone can see what they need to do. This reduces the stress on the first day, and it will allow you to focus on the jitters and excitements that surround the first day of school.
Do School Work:
Every day have kids do some school work. Workbooks which were tucked away during summer are out. I am one of those moms who doesn’t give school work during the summer, but the week before school the workbooks are out. It helps them to reorient their mind toward school and to the fact that homework will come too.
Make Space to Connect with Your Children:
Are there any anxieties about school? Do you anticipate any changes or new challenges this school year? Our kids have shared their concerns about how discipline issues were handled at school during lunch hours. Although we addressed some of their concerns last year, they are concerned that this year will have the same kinds of issues.
Make sure you make time to connect with your kids, so you have a chance to hear their perspective and concerns about going back to school. It is a great time to listen, empathize, coach and encourage kids that you are confident that they are ready for all the challenges they will face in their new grade.
As kids move up a grade level, it is an excellent opportunity to bring up bigger picture academic or social topics. Are there specific topics that you want to talk to your kids about before they start school? For us, we need to help our kids have a big picture about the value of school. Each year, how we talk about it changes.
Talking about these types of issues help the kids to know that we, their parents, are engaged with their development and that we are available and safe to talk about anything that might come up. It is a good time to talk about academic goals, friendship, sex, or future careers.
As you look ahead to the school year, what kinds of issues or topics do you foresee that your child might be exposed to or be wrestling with?
Be proactive in thinking through issues and spend some time addressing questions and potential growth areas with your child. For younger kids, spending some time doing pretend plays using stuffed animals about a variety of situations help them greatly to learn how to navigate some difficult social and emotional situations that they might face.
Connect with your Spouse
Lastly, spend some time with your spouse to discuss your routine, schedule, expectations, and how you will juggle your mornings and evenings. If you have a plan of action, you can always adjust and make changes. But, if you don’t, you will find yourself getting frustrated with each other because of differing expectations. Don’t assume. Be clear about what you need, want, and listen to your spouse’s needs and wants. Then you can work together as a team. So plan some time to talk it through.
The beginning of a new school year is an exciting and nerve-filled time for everyone. Plan ahead so that you can enjoy one another’s transition into a new season of growth!
What do you do to help your family get ready for school? If you have a child entering middle school, you don’t want to miss reading Preparing for Middle School.