I don’t know about you, but this summer has flown by for me. It’s so sad how fast time goes and summer vacation seems to be the fastest time of year. I live in Alaska and the sun doesn’t go down in the summer so we are always on the go and sleep schedules are thrown way off because sometimes it’s just too hard to sleep when the sun is still shining bright in the sky. So we are struggling to get back in the school mindset and with only a few weeks to go until school starts we need to get in better habits now to make that transition as smoothly as we can. We have done it before though, so I know it can happen, but it can sometimes be a little difficult to get the kiddos on board. 🙂
So here are some of my tips for a smooth transition from summer to school. Good luck to you and your kids and we wish them the very best this school year!
1. Get on a sleep schedule
You want this to be gradual so that your kids can adjust. It can be hard to go from staying up later to going to bed early. So starting 2-3 weeks before school starts adjust bedtime by 15 minutes every few days. Learning how to wake up on time is another adjustment, so I adjust wake up time by 15 minutes every other day as well.
2. Start getting dressed first thing
This might be something only my kids struggle with, but in the summer they stay in their pajamas for most of the day. They don’t do it every day, especially if we have somewhere to be, but a lot of the time they are quite content with lounging in their pjs until lunch (or later!). Getting in the habit of setting out clothes and getting dressed first thing in the morning helps with the transition to school because there will be less fight to get them up and ready each morning.
3. Say goodbye to summer with a day at the pool or lake
My kids love the lake and the pool and to them those things mean summer, so that’s where we go when we want to say goodbye to summer. You can easily substitute that with your favorite summer activity. Maybe one last camping trip or s’mores in the backyard or a fun hike. It’s up to you what you do. Make it a family activity and make it fun!
4. Talk positively about school
Summer is an awesome thing so it’s hard for a kid to want that to end. When I was a kid a loved back to school time and loved going to school, but my oldest son is already complaining that he doesn’t want to go. Remind them of the fun things they get to do at school. Talk about your favorite memories of school. Tell them that it’s so fun for you to witness their growth and to see them learn. Hopefully they’ll realize there’s more to school than homework and they will get a little more excited.
5. Visit the school and meet their new teacher
I know every elementary school my kids have gone to has a back to school night where you can meet the teacher and check out the new classroom. Try to make it to back to school night so your child can get comfortable with their new surroundings before school starts. It’s also nice to already have met the teacher before the first day. This might not be possible at every school though.
6. Set up a space for school gear
We have hooks set up by our back door for backpacks and jackets and little cubbies near them for shoes or boots. Having a spot where everything goes and having your child know where that spot is will cut down on lost items and last-minute searching. If you’re ever running late in the morning, it’s nice to know that school gear is right there ready to grab on the way out the door.
7. Host a potluck picnic or BBQ to reconnect with friends
Maybe your kids haven’t seen their school friends as much during the summer. Host a get together at your house or meet at the park to reconnect. It will remind your child they have friends at school and get them more excited to go. This is also another fun way to say goodbye to the summer. You could also have a picnic with friends and drivers in a carpool, if you have one. This would be a great way for your child to meet the kids they’ll be sitting by and the adults that will be taking them to school everyday.
8. Get in a good study habits
Start scheduling a little time in your day to practice writing or math skills. This is a great way to review things they learned the previous year so they’re a little more ready for school, but it’s also good to get them in the habit of doing homework. Hopefully your child has been reading all summer, but if they haven’t, it’s never too late to start. We like to do reading right before bed time. My kids take turns reading to me and then the older ones read chapter books on their own. Reading is so important for your little student, if you don’t know where to start here are some tips on reading with them. If you don’t know what to read, here is a list of our favorite chapter books and favorite chapter books.
9. Take a walk to school or the bus stop
Let them get familiar with the walk and it’s also a good time to go over safety rules.
10. Wake up early on the first day of school
Plan on a little extra time to get ready on the first day of school. You don’t want to rush, rush, rush. Take your time getting ready so they enjoy the morning and they don’t start out school stressed. Don’t forget to snap pictures of them before they head out the door. They will love to look at those pictures when they are older and you will love to see how much they grow during the year. Okay, maybe seeing how much they grow during the year is a little sad, but it’s still cool to see.
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