Before you know it the kids will be heading into a new school year. Yellow buses, backpacks, and lined paper will be part of your daily routine—coupled with a little extra stress. Stress is a part of every healthy person’s life, but a little back-to-school planning can keep it to a minimum. Here are 7 ways to make the transition easier.
Find their closet. Set aside a day to help your student attack their closet. Create piles to keep, to toss out, and to donate. Purchase closet organizers, dividers, and even small crates to keep things orderly. Use small shoe boxes in their drawers to act as dividers for socks, underwear, hair bows, and jewelry.
Encourage them to plan their wardrobe. Go through their clothes with them. Older kids really don’t need you to hold their hand, but a little company can help the job go faster. Chances are they have a lot of clothes that are still in good condition. Decide which ones they still like to wear and see if they have any gaps in their wardrobe. Shopping to fill the gaps will cost less and save time. Encourage them to set aside 5 outfits for the first week of school, so they aren’t stuck staring blankly into their closet each morning.
Buy school supplies early. If you start shopping now you’ll have smaller crowds and the selection at the store won’t be picked over. You can also shop at your leisure—one store today, another tomorrow—and you won’t be stuck with a shopping marathon three days before school starts.
Create a study spot. Clear a spot in their room, in the kitchen, or family room and designate it the study area. Reduce as many distractions as possible. Load it up with pens, pencils, calculators, erasers, sharpeners, etc. Give them enough time each day to finish their work without interruptions. Be flexible. Remember that what worked last year may still need to be adjusted for this year.
Brush up. It’s easy for students to lose some knowledge over the summer break. Take some time to look over some of the concepts they studied last year. Give them a math problem from the end of last year and work through it with them until they remember how to do it. Keep them reading good books throughout summer break. Pick up a foreign language dictionary so they can look through it before their Spanish class begins.
Think through lunch. There are a lot of delicious, healthy lunch options available, but we need to purchase them ahead of time in order to pack them into the kids’ lunch boxes. Stock up the pantry now, so you aren’t rummaging at 7:00 a.m.
Set the bedtime routine couple of weeks before school starts. It isn’t easy to get to bed during the longer summer days. But inadequate sleep can be a huge problem for students. Most kids need 9 to 10 hours of sleep. Get them in the habit before school starts so they aren’t struggling with that transition at the same time that they’re learning a new locker combination and trying to remember their schedule.
Remember that managing the school year is more like running a marathon than running a sprint. Getting off to a good start is important, but there is still time to make adjustments along the way. Good luck, and happy transitioning.