Back to School: 4 Ways to Prepare Your Kids

This blog, written by first grade teacher Katie Leviton, provides suggestions for how parents can prepare their children for “school season.”
back to school

Even though your child/children could still be attending camps, spending time outdoors, and begging for extra screen time because “it’s summer…”, school is right around the corner! Right now, teachers are beginning to set up their classrooms (if you attend Bennett Day, they’re also doing home visits) and preparing to welcome their students back to school. While it is not an easy task, it’s time to get your child/children back into their daily routines for the school year. Here are 4 ways to do just that:

1. Get back to a bedtime routine.

Shifting from summer to school bedtime is not an easy task, but getting into the routine before school starts will help with the transition. We recommend discussing the new bedtime and reasoning with your child and gradually building up to it if possible. Allow time for some independent reading or read-alouds before bed to help your reader/emerging reader strengthen their literacy skills that are practiced and learned throughout the school year. Early morning activities (e.g. playing a game, making breakfast, or going for a walk) may not sound like fun, but they can provide extra quality time between you and your child and help them get back into their routine.

2. Remind them that new is good. 

As the summer comes to an end, children, although they may not show it, may have some inner worries about the unknown. Allow your child to have these feelings and explain that many students, even teachers, are feeling this way. New classrooms, new faces, and new experiences can be scary, but it’s comforting to know that everyone is in the same position. Learning new things and becoming more independent is exciting! Talk with your child about what their goals and aspirations are for the year ahead.

Some may find it comforting to talk about the roles of students vs. a teacher. A student goes to school to learn, make friends, and be respectful, whereas a teacher is there is teach, keep the students safe, and make sure they are having fun while learning. Consider role-playing with your children, allowing them to be the teacher while you act as the student. 

3. Map out their new schedule.

Too much disruption in your child’s schedule can be scary. Be sure to explain what is happening in your child’s day and why, especially if it is something new. If your child is a visual learner, work with them to draw, paint, or type out their schedule and get creative with color coding, stickers, or pictures. These conversations are so valuable, especially if your child is someone who needs time to process or plan (keep this in mind if they have a special event coming up, such as having their teachers over for a home visit).

4. Introduce them to “school season”. 

For some of the younger ones, it can be a bit confusing to say summer is over and it is time for school. They may think, “wait…what? It’s still warm?” Explain that school season means that it is time for them to go to school during the day, time to learn new things, make new friends, and take new risks. Consider ending your summer season with a family night where you can do your favorite summer activity (take a walk, go for ice cream, have a picnic, etc.) Doing an activity like this is a fun way to make the transition back into school exciting and easier on your child.

Good luck to all students, teachers, parents, and guardians during the 2019-2020 school year. We wish you lots of time for exploration, collaboration, and discoveries!