As the casual days of summer give way to more structured school days, there are preparations that can help our young children with the transition!
1. Help children get on a “school” sleep routine after more casual days of summer. It will help with the morning rush as well as being alert during school time.
2. Label a large bag with extra clothes for kids to keep at school (or in their backpack) as accidents happen. Don’t forget socks and underwear!
3. Be confident and excited at drop off times. Your child will feed off of your emotions. Let them know that you are confident with the school choice and the teachers. Be prepared for tears in the first few days, but remain calm and leave after ONE good hug. A long, drawn out good-bye is harder on your child than you think! Also, remind your child that you will be back for them in a little while.
4. Make sure that your child has been exposed to a group of other children without a parent present BEFORE school begins. Arrange for play times at a local gym, childcare center, museums, or other activities where your child could function independently of parents.
5. Buy extra school supplies while sales are good. Invest in the best quality backpack your budget allows. It will take lots of wear and tear and you’ll avoid last minute trips to purchase a new one when the straps break. Avoid junior sized backpacks as larger folders and books will not fit inside.
6. Allow your children to make as many decisions as possible. To avoid last minute “melt-downs,” allow your children to make decisions within a limited range of choices. For example: “Would you like oatmeal or waffles for breakfast? Instead of, “What would you like to eat?”
7. If you have younger children, consider whether or not the snaps and buttons on new clothes are possible for the tiny fingers. If your child cannot snap or button by themselves, don’t wear them yet.
8. Set out everything your child will need for school the night before. You can avoid rushed morning, melt-downs, or forgetting something when everything is ready to go ahead of time. Set out your child’s clothes, pack snacks or lunches (if needed), get folders and backpacks ready and sitting by the door, etc.
9. If your child is potty trained, review bathroom procedures and encourage students to try and complete bathroom tasks on their own. Go into a department store bathroom and ask your child to get the toilet paper from the roll. It is different than the roll at home! 🙂
10. Try to arrange a visit to the school and/or classroom teacher before school begins. Allowing your child a chance to become familiar with the environment and/or people there will help with anxiety as school begins. Talk a walk around the school to see where playground equipment is, where the lunchroom is located, find the classroom, and locate restrooms/water fountains if not within the individual classrooms.
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