When summer starts to wind down, that is the time for parents to start preparing their kids to head back to school. Dr. Monica Wagenberg, Scheck Hillel Community School’s Head of Lower School in North Miami Beach offers a few simple and helpful tips for families to ease back into the school mindset.• Let the countdown begin: No matter how much fun your child has had over the summer, the start of the school year should be something that is eagerly anticipated in your household (and not just by you). One of the ways that you can build a sense of excitement is to post a calendar in the kitchen and let your child mark down the days until the first day of school.
• Start the conversation: While it’s important to be positive about the coming school year because children pick up on their parents’ anxieties, your child should also feel free to talk to you about any concerns or fears they may have. Maintain an open dialogue by addressing any issues that arise head-on while talking about the wonderful things they will learn, friends they will meet and opportunities that await them at school.
• Get back into a routine: Schedules tend to be more lax during the summer. Start gradually adjusting bedtime and wake up times several days before the first day of school. Reestablish morning routines by setting out clothes the night before and allot a certain amount of time for breakfast in the morning. Parents should also start reducing the amount of time kids spend in front of the television or on the computer. While most children do their homework on a computer today, time spent on the computer isn’t always productive and can take away from other back-to-school preparation.
• Do your homework: Avoid any back-to-school stress by making sure that your child has completed their summer assignments. Leaving things for the last minute will only create anxiety in both you and your child. Also, engage your child in a conversation about their summer assignments and how it will relate to what they’ll be studying in the classroom this year.
• Involve the kids: Bring your child along with you to any open houses or meet-the-teacher events scheduled at their school. Also, acquaint younger children with basic activities, such as pick up and drop off routines and schedules. This is particularly important with younger children and those who will be attending a new school. Take them with you when you go shopping for school supplies too. This will give them an enthusiasm and sense of empowerment that will carry over into the classroom.
• Sign up, try out, get involved: With a new school year beginning, new opportunities arise. Encourage your student to get involved by becoming an active part of their school community by joining clubs, sports teams, or any other organization that interests them. Joining a new organization at the start of the new school year is a great way to meet friends and get involved in an activity that they really enjoy. Different extracurricular activities are also a great boost for college applications