I love summer – spending time with my kids going swimming, bike riding, traveling, and hearing about how much fun they have at camp while not stressing about homework. But, admittedly, I don’t mind the return to school – and the regular hum of the school routine that comes with it.
In preparation for the start of school, here are three tips to ensure the back-to-school transition goes smoothly – for you and your children – so your summer schedule doesn’t come to a sudden, shocking and painful halt:
- Start the conversation.
- Two weeks before the start of school, begin talking with your child about the changes the school year will bring.
- Also address other new routines, like transportation to and from school as well as the after-school plan.
- Be sure to attend a school preview day (if offered) so your child will feel more comfortable with their surroundings on the first day.
- Transition sleep schedules.
- Children keep different hours during the summer, so it’s important to start transitioning sleep schedules to coincide with the school routine.
- Two weeks before the start of school, begin waking your child and putting them to bed 10-15 minutes earlier each day until you reach the targeted waking and sleeping hours.
- Elementary-aged children need 10-12 hours of sleep; those in middle and high school need 8-9 hours. Lack of sleep affects concentration, mood and memory, so make this a priority!
- Don’t skip breakfast.
- It is important to fuel children’s brains by starting each school day with a nutritious breakfast.
- Eggs, lean meats, nut butters and low-fat dairy are a great start to the day and a good source of protein, which keeps the hunger pangs away until lunch – allowing your child to focus on school and not the growling monster in their belly.
- For rushed mornings, low-fat yogurt smoothies, dried or fresh fruit, and granola bars are all options for breakfasts on the go.
Preparing for the start of school in advance will make it less stressful for everyone, including mom and dad. By discussing upcoming changes, transitioning sleep schedules and providing a nutritious breakfast, you will ensure your family starts the school year off on the right foot. Unfortunately, we can’t make the summer last forever, but we can provide a smooth transition into the school year for our children.