The lazy days of summer are drifting to an end, and the dawn of a new school year is peeking over the horizon. With it comes excitement, anxiety, and, for busy parents, a new set of challenges.
Educators often say that for students, returning to school after three months of vacation is like trying to run a marathon after lying on the couch all summer. And for good reason: Not only are kids unaccustomed to the daily school routine, but their eating and sleeping schedules have likely shifted over the summer. Plus, they face emotional challenges like the back-to-school night jitters, learning to trust a new teacher, making new friends, completing challenging schoolwork, and transitioning from elementary school to the new environment of middle school. And if they're learning from home this fall, that comes with its own challenges.
So, parents, you’ve got a lot on your plates. But never fear. By planning ahead (and pat yourself on the back! By reading this article, you’re on the right track) and finding a way to automate simple tasks, you’ll ace the school year ahead – and your kiddos will, too.
Back-to-School Tips for Parents
1. Shape up your schedule
The first step to being back-to-school savvy is to remember that your kids aren’t the only ones shifting their schedules – yours will be affected, too, especially your morning routine and mid-afternoon.
Transition your kids back to “school bedtime” about two weeks ahead of the first day of school. This helps guarantee their success on their first day, and also helps your entire family get back into the zone. Remember, you’ll need the extra sleep and energy, too, to bundle them off to school successfully each morning before you start your day. (Bonus: Check out the Sleep Foundation’s tips for great back-to-school sleeping habits.)
6. Get those brains in gear for learning
Ready to get a jumpstart on academics? Banish the back-to-school jitters by familiarizing your child with the lessons and activities they might encounter during the school day. For littles, the mom-curated The Preschool Box is a school prep slam dunk, including fun stickers, crafts, activities and more (including a parent guide) for the preschool and kindergarten set. If your kiddo is in the age 5-10 range, level on up with Superpower Academy, a monthly box of “secret missions” jam-packed with fun, interactive STEAM activities that unlock “super powers” for children. This one includes parent guides with new insights on child developmental science, so it’s a perfect pack to help you support your child as school starts.
7. Teach kindness and sharing for at-school behavior
One of the most valuable lessons your child can learn – at school and at home – is how to be a global citizen. As we’ve mentioned, your child will be exposed to ideas like kindness, sharing and responsibility in the classroom. Be sure to integrate these ideas in your conversations and activities at home.
Easier said than done, right? If you’re feeling daunted, check out the "Take Action" box from inspiring subscription Cultivate Kindness. Each box focuses on a different cause and comes with a Kindness Activity Kit to complete, plus snack ideas, planner printables, and more. It’s a fantastic tool to support the great work you’re already doing at home.