It’s August and time for kids to go back to school! From the smell of freshly sharpened pencils to the sound of the first bell ringing, we’ll help you get back-to-school ready for the first day.
There is a Magic in New Beginnings
And this magic should not be destroyed by pressure to perform or overzealous helicopter parents. Going back to school should be an exciting time, full of anticipation.
Most kindergarteners look forward to school and learning. Just weeks after starting school, they get the hang of a classroom routine and everyday school life. During these early years, learning centers around new discoveries and exploring their creativity.
Even though the initial school magic usually wears off, older students, even those in middle school and high school, also usually feel excited during back-to-school time. Granted, of course, that pressure to perform doesn’t detract from the joy of learning.
Making the Grade
Even at an early age, it’s easy to spot developmental differences between students. These are totally normal, and not necessarily a reflection of a child’s intelligence or future success in school. Some students can already read and write, whereas others might not recognize their own name. Don’t be discouraged if your child seems to be a bit behind; lots of factors play into early school performance.
Be patient and rely on the teacher. While you might need to encourage your child to be diligent with their studies, don’t apply too much pressure to get perfect grades! Unless your teacher recommends extra tutoring, you can keep extra learning material to a minimum during the holidays. They’ll have plenty of homework during the year!
Instead, focus on unstructured play time and creative play for little ones.
The transition from unstructured summer to regular school schedules can be a difficult adjustment for many students. Graduating from preschool to elementary school can be a big step in a child’s development. Even just moving up to the next grade in the same school can be a daunting new challenge.
Some children, especially the shy ones, may be afraid of the new school situation. Some children feel stressed out by the new changes and might miss their old teachers. Others might take a while to adjust to the new school routine.
So talk with your child about the new school situation, so they know what to expect. Listen to your child’s concerns and fears. Take them seriously and try to mitigate them.
Ideally, your child should have some familiarity with their new class- perhaps at a school orientation or open house. That should help to familiarize your child with the new school. Try to give your child as much information as possible, e.g. the name of the class teacher, the number of classmates, and any friends who might be in their class.
Include your Child in Back-to-School Preparations
There is a lot for parents to do to prepare for school. You have to buy a backpack and various school supplies. You might have to organize a back-to-school party and set up space in the house for homework.
In most cases, you can involve your child in planning for the next year. Most children enjoy being able to choose things a specific style of lunch bag or the perfect back-to-school outfit. And with a great self-selected dinosaur or princess backpack, your little one will look forward to school even more. Maybe you already know the daily class schedule before school starts. Talk it over with your child so he knows what to expect the first day of school.
Healthy Snacks for the Lunch Box
Children love finger food types of snacks that can eat without any utensils, like sliced fruits and vegetables. Sometimes they’re more likely to try fun new foods at school than at home since they see what their friends are eating.
But don’t be too aspirational in packing your child’s lunch. If the healthy carrot slices come home untouched every single day, you might want to mix things up!
Here are a few favorite healthy snack ideas:
- Veggie spears: Sliced bell peppers, carrots, cherry tomatoes, or cucumber slices are refreshing and taste great with a dip like guacamole.
- Fruit: apples or bite-sized fruits such as strawberries, or cherry tomatoes. For an added dose of extra healthy fat and proteins, dip your apples in peanut butter.
- Hard-boiled eggs: provide a perfect protein boost, but have a really unfortunate smell, so be forewarned if you open one at school.
- Popcorn: crunchy and delicious. Pop a small
- Nuts: cashews, walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, etc. provide a healthy, filling dose of protein and fat that’s great for growing kids.
- Note on Nuts: Many schoolchildren have nut allergies, so you might not be able to bring them to school. Several classes are “nut-free zones” as a precaution, so if that’s the case, save nuts for home.
- For an added boost, combine a fruit/veggie type of snack with a protein or fat so they stay fuller longer. So try dipping carrots in hummus. Eat celery with filled with peanut butter. Add either hummus or peanut butter to a rice cake . . . you get the drift!
Safe School Transportation
Many grandparents fondly like to tell stores of “walking to school five miles in the snow.” Today, students are far more likely to ride a bus or car to get to school. But if the school is close enough, a child could ride a bike or walk there.
Some children attending neighborhood schools can walk alone to school safely. Depending on the proximity of your house to the school, some children will soon go to school alone and independently. Of course, this might be easier in a village with little traffic than in a big city.
Make sure your child is aware of traffic patterns and dangers associated with absent-minded drivers. Don’t even think about letting your child walk to school alone if they’re oblivious to safety. They should have a sense of forward-looking danger by age 8.
It is important to combine theory and practice before you let your child walk independently to school, just as with a driver’s license. There are countless children’s books that explain the traffic rules to the little ones in a playful way. However, be careful not to explain too much to your child at once. Go with them on the way to school until they feel safe and react confidently at all relevant points.
Recharge Your Batteries
Relaxation has many faces. Some children prefer to relax with a nice movie or painting, other children recharge their batteries when they are out in nature or playing around with friends. Let your child set the tone for relaxation, and be sure to mix things up, too. Some children’s weekends are chock full of athletic commitments, which can be great. But make sure your child gets some downtime, too.
You can experience many beautiful things, even now before school starts. Take a swim at your local pool, take a picnic at your local park, or have a water balloon fight in the garden. Whatever you do, be sure to enjoy less-structured time to ease into the new school year.
How do you get ready for school? What are your children looking forward to, what are they afraid of? Discuss with us in the FamilyApp!