Summer vacation is a beast of its own. What kind of summer did you have with your kids? Was it full of screaming children, fights, hair pulling and frustration? Or did it fly by, full of fun and precious moments? All to soon to be over and time to prepare kids for school?
To be honest, mine was a mix of both with a healthy bias to the fun side. There are indeed squabbles here and there over toys or lobbying for more screen time, but I cherish the days of playing at the pool, endless reading, and watching the creative play abound.
Whether it wasn’t long enough or couldn’t end fast enough we all, eventually, come to the same point. Back to School.
This can bring quite the mixture of feelings. Excitement. Apprehension. Indecision. Delight. Uneasiness. Confidence. Happiness. And all those feelings could be wrapped up in one child. So how can you get your kids ready for the new school year?
Here are a few ideas to help your family make the transition and help your little ones prepare kids for school.
Have a family night talking about the new school year to get them excited. Everyone can take a turn talking about what they are excited for. Sports teams, clubs, scouts, field trips, etc.
Get them involved in the school supply list. There are some opportunities to show a little bit of personality here. New backpacks, lunch bags, personalized folders. Getting new stuff is always fun and this is just for them, well, and their teacher!
Make play dates with classmates before the new school year. Looking forward to seeing friends again is one of the most exciting parts of going back to school. It can also give you some time to reacquaint yourself with parents who can be a great support to you scheduling volunteer time or homework assignments.
Make goals with your child. Review the previous school year and make attainable goals to motivate and share a sense of accomplishment to work towards. This can help your kids make it personal and remind them that you are rooting for them!
Pick out a first day of school outfit. This act just helps build the excitement. It also teaches your children the importance of how to make a good first impression. This will help them in future endeavors.
Make a journal. A journal can be a great way to work through emotions, or express creativity. It is a place to doodle or share special memories. Your child could create journals for every school year. Or, an alternate journal idea- have a family journal for the year where each family member can contribute. Don’t let the word journal intimidate you or turn you off. Pictures with a couple of words, depending on age, can capture thoughts and feelings in a way that is more appropriate.
Make a point to go to the meet and greet with the teacher before school. Your child can meet the new teacher, find their desk, and discover any classmates they already know.
Take pictures with printables for the first day of school. One of my favorite things every year is to see “First Day of School” pictures all over Facebook from friends and family. Kids have fun with these pictures and loved ones love to see their adorable faces (or the rolling of the eyes in the teenagers!). These can also be a great way to mark physical changes through the year.
Make a special treat for their lunch and include a personalized note. I admit this is one I have not done a great job with the past few years and I want to make a change. I know it will bring a smile to my boys’ faces to get a surprise note from me. And there are so many cute ideas on Pinterest. I have seen joke printables, or pictures that the parents and kids take turns adding to. This one is so much fun to prepare kids for school!
Hit the library and Read books about starting school. My kids have loved to learn the library. I love that the librarians have made such a family friendly area. It is rarely quiet in the kids section as one would expect a library to be. Instead it is a low hum of kids reading aloud with parents, playing with blocks or legos, and other make-believe toys. We even played with play-do one day! Anyhow, the library abounds with picture books even ones about school.
Finally, when in doubt be ready to bribe in a positive way.
A little treat and a conversation about the first day of school can help take the sting out of summer’s end.
What are some of your favorite traditions to prepare kids for school?