As the carefree days of summer wind down, the anticipation of a new school year can bring about a mix of excitement and anxiety for both parents and children.
The transition from sleeping in and going to sleep later to the structured routines of school can be a challenge. But, with a little preparation and the right strategies in place, it’s possible to ensure a smooth and stress-free back-to-school season.
If you’re looking for parenting tips to make the start of the school year a breeze, read on for 10 invaluable suggestions. Hopefully these ten tips will help you kick off the school year with confidence, while supporting your child’s academic success and emotional well-being.
1. Slowly transition to the school year routine
Summer leads to significant changes in children’s schedules, so it’s crucial that you begin to transition them to their new routine in advance.
As summer calls for later evenings and mornings, waking up early to get to school can be a challenge. So, slowly get your kids used to their school schedule later in the summer, making early rising a little easier. Setting bedtimes and wake-up times also helps children adjust to a new schedule.
2. Go back-to-school shopping
Taking your kids shopping for school supplies helps get them excited for the incoming school year.
Teachers often give parents and students a list of supplies they’ll need for the year, so consider sharing the list with your child so they can pick out school supplies. Allowing them to choose out their new gear encourages self-efficiency and anticipation for a fresh start to the year. If you don’t have a surplus of options in stores, consider browsing apps like Amazon to pick things out together.
3. Pick out clothes for the week
Getting clothes ready for the week can save you a lot of time and hassle in the mornings. However, don’t go through this process alone; instead, get your kids involved if they’re old enough. Encouraging independence in a growing child is important, and allowing them to pick out their own clothes (with some guidance, of course) encourages confidence and responsibility.
Here’s a pro tip: On the Sunday before school, have your child set aside outfits for the week and hang them in their closet so they can choose which outfit to wear during the week without having to think too much about it. This speeds up the getting ready process in the morning, while also making the morning routine easier for you.
4. Meal prep
While meal-prepping may have been rebranded for gym aficionados, it can also save you a lot of time. Meal-prepping is also another way to get your kids involved. On Sundays, for example, tell your kids their options and then allow them to select from those options.
For instance, if you plan on packing a sandwich in their lunches, their options may be PB&J, turkey, or peanut and banana sandwiches. If you have multiple kids, have them work together to make their choice for the week, democracy-style. After they’ve made their choices for the week, create an assembly-style line with your kids to get those meals prepped.
This is another great way to encourage self-sufficiency, independence, and responsibility while giving you back some time during the week!
5. Talk about the new school year
A new school year or the first year of school can be daunting for both children and parents. Meeting new classmates, a new teacher, or even a new school can lead to some anxieties, so it’s important that you discuss any issues your children may have before the school year begins.
Ask them how they feel about entering a new grade, and let them know that you’ll always be there for them. While you might think these things go without saying, reminding your kids that you’re there to support them is important to vocalize. Address any negative feelings they may have about going to school and do your best to ease their concerns.
6. Enroll in extracurricular activities
Enrolling your child in after-school activities assists in your child’s development. Hobbies are important for both adults and children, and allowing your kids to explore different activities helps them discover what they’re passionate about.
Extracurricular activities can also boost your children’s self-esteem, teach them discipline, and help their mental health during the school year. If your child is artistically driven, for example, enroll them in activities where they can express their creativity. If you have an active child on your hands, ask them if there’s a sport they’re interested in trying.
You can also find activities to do together. If yoga is a big thing for you, consider how you can get your child involved in yoga for kids. There’s a growing amount of research demonstrating the benefits a yoga practice can have on growing minds.
Among the many benefits of yoga: It improves concentration and memory, helps enhance self-esteem, and improves academic performance – all while helping to manage stress and anxiety. Yoga in school offers tons of benefits for everyone involved.
7. Encourage your child’s independence
The school year presents opportunities for your child to demonstrate self-sufficiency and independence. As we mentioned above, having your child pick out their clothes, choose their school supplies, and pack their lunch are all great opportunities to teach kids about independence. You can also encourage your children to practice time management and organizational skills so they have the tools they need to succeed in and outside of school.
8. Manage screen time
Screen time is a controversial topic in the parenting world. While it’s impossible for you to avoid screen time completely – as much of our world revolves around screens – you can do your part to manage your children’s screen time, especially when preparing them for the new school year.
For starters: Set limits on the amount of time your kids can spend using the TV, computer, smartphones, or tablets in your home. Additionally, ensure you set parental controls to limit what your children can and cannot see on the Internet. Then, prioritize homework, extracurricular activities, outdoor time, and family time over screen time. And, try to turn off all screens at least two hours before bedtime.
9. Get organized – One of our favorite parenting tips!
With varying schedules and so much on a parent’s to-do list on a daily basis, it’s essential to get organized. Use calendars, planners, or apps to help you keep track of important dates, events, parent-teacher conferences, school events, and more.
Once your children are old enough, encourage them to use their own planner or calendar system to help them keep track of everything they have going on. A planner helps your child stay on track with school assignments, social events, and extracurricular activities and gives you a view of how you can assist them with their to-do lists.
10. Implement family time
Although a new school year can be extremely busy, it’s essential that you fit in time for your family to spend together. Whether this means eating dinner together as a family, reading children’s books together, or doing something on the weekends like going on a hike with the dog or heading to the beach, it’s essential that you get enough quality time in to catch up and talk about your week.
Keep in mind that spending quality time together as a family can help reduce stress in children and strengthen your bond.
Starting the school year off on the right foot
As the back-to-school season approaches, the significance of a stress-free start cannot be underestimated.
By implementing the ten parenting tips we’ve discussed in this article, you can proactively prepare your children for the academic journey ahead. From establishing routines to nurturing open communication and creating a balanced environment, these strategies contribute to a harmonious transition, and set the stage for a successful and enjoyable school year.
Are you ready to lay the foundation for a year filled with growth, learning, and memorable experiences for both you and your children? We thought so! Here’s to a wonderful school year!