It’s August. Independence Day is in the rearview mirror. The dog days of summer are upon us, and the moments of longing for summer are now being overtaken with thoughts of, Will it ever cool off?!?
For parents, restless children are becoming the norm as the newness of School’s Out For the Summer begins to wear off. Well, depending on where you live, there is good news: the first day of school is just around the corner.
And while the return to school may provide a welcome reprieve from your child’s summer doldrums, grooming them toward a return to school night practices takes work. To help ease the transition, here are some recommendations to assist as you prepare for children’s return to school in the coming weeks.
Many schools require summer reading. Have you reviewed the policies at your child’s school? Many teachers attach projects or papers to accompany what’s been read. If your child has yet to begin their summer reading, do not wait until the week before school begins. You’ll be locked in a battle that will take years off of your life. Have they read a chapter or thirty minutes each day? Before you know it, the book will be complete.
Supplies, Clothes, and More
From new backpacks to calculators, laptops, pens, pencils, and other materials, waiting until the last minute leads to frustrating store visits with clogged aisles and similarly exhausted parents. Don’t wait! Access your child’s materials list and go sooner rather than later. Many of the big box stores offer incentives for parents as the market for your business has become very competitive.
Growing kids also require new clothes, shoes, and accessories. Whether your school has uniforms or a dress code, new purchases will likely need to be made. Tip: some schools maintain gently used uniforms that can be acquired for pennies on the dollar. Inquire with the school office to see if you can save a little money that way.
Avoiding Summer Slide
Aside from reconditioning students to the expectations of a school setting, one of the biggest struggles teachers report upon return from months away from school is summer slide. If you’re unfamiliar with summer slide, the term refers to a regression in the primary skills (think Math) that often need to be re-taught to students.
But there are ways to avoid this phenomenon. More and more camps are available which cater to the fun side of learning. Maybe a science camp that explores Astronomy, Robotics, or Physics is offered in your area. There are some excellent web/app-based options as well – ask a teacher for suggestions. You don’t have to lord over your child forcing them to do worksheets. Find some creative ways to keep their minds stimulated and it will pay off.
There may be no bigger parent-child struggle than that of a return to “school night” bedtime. Do not; I repeat do not wait until a few days before. You will regret it. Begin walking back the time children go to bed within two weeks or so before the first day of school. Not only does research support the amount of sleep they need physically, but they will also be more refreshed and prepared to re-enter the day-to-day school schedule if they’ve been making their mind and body in the weeks leading up.
Avoid the zombie-like state that can easily overtake parents fighting the return to school. Taking a bite-by-bite approach over the next few weeks will make your life more manageable and enjoyable as school gets back underway!