Back to School Blues -Preparing Yourself and Your Child for September
I hate to say it but September is creeping up. Don’t let it stop you from enjoying the rest of your summer but you might want to slowly start thinking about how best to prepare for an easy transition back to school. Whether it’s their first time to daycare or returning to a familiar school, children and their parents can get those pre-school jitters no matter how many times September rolls around.
With a couple weeks left of summer, speak optimistically about the upcoming school year to your children without overdoing it. For some children, you’ve got to hit that delicate balance of speaking positively about school but not too much that it becomes the focus of conversations and results in anxiety. Try to normalize the fact that everyone goes off to school while celebrating your child’s strengths. For example “Wow! You’ve almost tied your laces yourself! You’ll be able to help teach your new friends how to put their shoes on at school. Your teacher Mr. McFarlane will be so proud of you!” Talk to your child about new routines and activities that may be similar or different from their current days in order to familiarize them with what’s coming up.
We all know what summer schedules look like. What schedule? Exactly. It’s great having two months off that deviates from the regular routine but it’s worth slowly integrating that September schedule sooner that later. Staying up late, waking up late, eating at odd hours – these are all things that will need to be adjusted come Labour Day and may come as a big shock to your kids. Think of how hard it is for you to adapt to work life upon returning from holiday. Your kids are going to be super busy come September – they need to adjust to new teachers, new classmates, new schedules, and a more demanding day than they have been used to. Give them a head start by putting them to bed at their usual school year time and waking them up when they would in September. Try to regulate mealtimes to times when they would be eating at school. I’m not saying change your entire schedule – it is still your summer too! – But if you can slowly start syncing their schedule to what’s coming up, you’ve got a better chance of a smoother September start.
Depending on the school or district, you may have received some information pertaining to resources your child might need or about school routines and procedures. Try and familiarize yourself with the things you and your child need to be aware of before the start of the school year. It might be related to the classroom, pick up and drop off, club registration, mealtimes – whatever it is, the more you know now, the better prepared you are. September is a busy time for everyone and if possible, you don’t want to be that parent who has to race down from King Street on a Monday morning to deliver lunch because you didn’t read the school’s ‘no seeds’ food policy! Mistakes naturally happen and things get overlooked but if you follow the above tips, September 8th shouldn’t be such a shock to the system. Wishing you and your family a great start to the 2015/2016 school year!
Talia Shapero is an experienced dual qualified teacher in Ontario and the UK who has a passion for early years education. She is co-founder of the Smart Cookie Club, a holistic, play-based learning program for toddlers and preschoolers and their parents and nannies.
For further information, please visit www.smartcookieclub.ca
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