Yes, it’s that time of year again; when the shops are teeming with backpacks, pencils and crayons and lunch boxes still smell fresh. School is just around the corner. And if your family is anything like mine, that revelation is met with mixed emotions from both parents and kids alike. Over time I’ve learned a few things that have made the transition from summer to school a little smoother. Whether you homeschool, public, private school or anything in-between, there are a few universal tips that can help curb the chaos during this busy, exciting and often anxious, time of year.
1. Start early! Whether you’re gathering curriculum, school supplies, books, or uniforms, buying early and in batches saves time, stress and often money. Make a list of everything you need for the new school year, divide it up and buy a little at a time. Our family buys a little on each paycheck throughout the summer so when September 1st rolls around, we have all the things we need without having to take out a mortgage to pay for it all in one lump sum. It also saves fighting last minute crowds and sold out necessities. If it’s too late to start early for this year, make a note and start next summer.
2. Two Week Transition If your family is anything like mine, as summer goes on, what was a strict 7:30 bedtime stretches and stretches. Suddenly it’s August and they’re up until 9pm (or later) every night. While that makes for some lovely family time on long summer evenings, it’s hardly conducive to keeping a healthy school schedule. So, give your kids (and yourself!) 2 weeks to transition. Start moving bedtime earlier and earlier, gradually adding in your usual school time bedtime routine items. This way you’re not stuck the night before school with kids who can’t fall asleep until daylight, and everyone can start The Day off on a rested, happy note.
3. Pray Prayer’s position on this list by no means reflects it’s priority. Begin praying daily- with your children- for your children’s teachers, principal, classmates, etc. Pray for healthy minds ready to learn, about any anxieties your child has about the new year, and that your family would be a blessing to those you are in touch with at school.
4. Discuss If you have a child starting his/her first year in school, begin early talking about school, the kinds of things they’ll be doing, etc. Try to take him to meet his teacher, walk around campus, visit the playground. Feeling familiar with his surroundings makes a huge difference on the first day of school!
5. Last Hurrah Do something as a family to commemorate the end of summer and celebrate the start of school. It doesn’t have to be major. A picnic in the park, a family swim, a trip to the cinema or local fair. Just something, as a family, to give thanks for (and bring closure to) a good summer and anticipate a great year in school.
What do you think? Did you find these ideas helpful? What do you do to help your family prepare for the new academic year?
Photo courtesy of Robb North