As August approaches, families can’t help but think about back-to-school– whether it’s the kids thinking about how many days of summer vacation they have left, or parents thinking about back-to-school shopping. There are some things you can do now to ease your family into the back-to-school mindset and allow everyone to enjoy the remaining weeks of summer. Laura Shearer, School Counselor at PA Virtual Charter School, provided us with some tips so you can hit the ground running once the school year starts.
- Get into a routine. – Now’s the time to start weening your kids off of sleeping until 10am and going to bed late. “Make sure the family starts doing things like having breakfast at a certain time together or is dressed by 7:30” says Shearer. “You don’t have to have all the routines down at once, but something as small as knowing I need to have breakfast before 8AM can do wonders for when you need to be ready for school by an exact time.”
- Create a distraction-free environment. – “Whether your child goes to a brick and mortar or virtual school, your child is going to need a space to do school work. Create a distraction-free environment now so they get used to this area of the house being a quiet area.” Shearer also adds the importance of having as little technology in the room as possible. “At the very least, if an area is designated to be the learning or quiet area for a few hours, make sure that the TV or tablet is off.”
- Practice time management. – “It’s one thing to have your children do chores around the house.” says Shearer. “There is a different impact if your child has to get a chore completed by a specific time.” Getting kids, whether they are entering first grade or 11th grade, used to deadlines is critical for getting the school year off on the right foot. “Having a bridge between the lazy days of summer and the hustle and bustle of the fall creates less of a shock for students and parents.”
- Ask your child about their day. – You may know exactly what your child did today, but getting them to tell you in their own words helps with your child’s processing, which makes it easier for your kids to remember lessons in the Fall. “Don’t be afraid to ask for details. If your child says they went to the park, ask them specifically what they did.” Shearer notes that every child is different and some kids, especially teenagers, may be a little lean with the details. “The purpose of this is accountability. If you know you are going to be asked about something, you are going to pay more attention to details while you do it, even if it’s going to the mall.”
- Get back-to-school shopping done early. Plan to have all school supplies and school shopping done weeks before the first day of school. This will allow families to enjoy the last few weeks of summer together without the stress of thinking about back-to-school shopping. “Also make sure any schedules for the first day of school are checked, and all summer reading is done” says Shearer. Shearer also suggests involving younger children in shopping for school supplies. “If your child helps pick it out, they will take more pride in their books and pencils, not to mention, it’s a nice boost to their self-esteem.”
Back-to-school is an adjustment time for everyone, but following these tips may just make that transition a bit easier.