7 steps to prepare your child for the start of school

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Summer is over and it’s back to school! Your kids could be anxious about going to school. Any change in routine can be hard for them.


7 ways to prepare your child for school

  1. Slowly ease them into it

    • Prepare ahead for a smooth first day.
    • Start changing their sleeping and waking schedules. Do this one or two weeks before school starts.
    • Set a strict bedtime. Kids need 10-13 hours of sleep every day.
    • Limit their screen time (TV, computer or gadgets). Make sure they are asleep by 9:00 p.m. or earlier.
    • Help them wake up early. Make an allowance for morning routines. They should have a habit of dressing up and eating a proper breakfast before leaving the house.
  2. Be excited for them

    • Don’t talk about going back to school like it’s a burden.
    • Talk to your kids about things to look forward to in the new school year:
      • seeing their old friends and gaining new friends
      • learning new things
      • getting into sports
      • field trips and other fun activities
    • Create positive anticipation for the first day of class.
    • It will work for your toddlers and teens.
  3. Prepare for going back to school. Make it an adventure:

    • Go back-to-school shopping with your child.
      • Allow them to choose their clothes and gear. Set reasonable limits like cost or suitability.
      • New clothes, shoes, school bag or notebooks can get them excited to go to school.
      • Call the school to know what supplies they need. You may also order from school.
    • Prepare a special study nook.
      • Let them help you arrange and decorate a study area.
      • There should be no TVs or video game consoles near their nook. These can distract them from studying.
    • Get your child to help plan their lunches.
  4. Plan a new look.

    • Talk to them about getting a new hair cut or hair style.
    • Go to the salon with them.
  5. Listen to their concerns

    • Don’t get angry when your child is anxious. This is normal.
    • Your child may be nervous about new situations. They could be worrying about their new surroundings or having a new teacher.
    • Talk to them gently. Reassure them.
    • Tell them that all the other kids will be experiencing the same things as them.
    • Drive or walk with them to school if your kids are scared about the first day.
  6. Visit the school

    • Help your child get used to new surroundings.
    • Join a school tour. Or visit the campus before the start of the school year. Call ahead to check if they’re open.
    • Walk to their classroom. Go to the library, cafeteria, playground and the washroom.
    • They will not worry about getting lost at the start of school.
  7. Discuss their school schedule

    • Talk to your child about their daily schedule.
    • Let them know what activities to expect each day.
    • Show them how they will travel to and from school. Walk with them to the bus stop if they are going by school bus.
    • Establish a daily routine. Let them know the time they need to wake up, prepare, and when they should be out of the house.
    • Let them develop the habit of preparing things ahead of time. For example, help them prepare their clothes the night before. Tell them to check the temperature for the next day.
    • Post a checklist on the fridge door or wall as a reminder.
  8. Shift family activities to more scholarly pursuits

    • Go on a trip to the museum or library. Spend an afternoon with your family reading books at the park.
    • This will help your kids shift their brain into study mode. They will still enjoy the last days of their summer vacation.

Sources: Back to school tips, healthychildren.org; 101 back-to-school tips for kids and parents, Liz Alton, Care.com. and Healthy sleep habits: How many hours does your child need? Healthy Children.org. Retrieved August 23, 2018.

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