We are ever closer to back-to-school day, which varies, depending on where in Southcentral you live. Anchorage students return to school on August 22.
This means you’ve got less than four weeks to gear up for the fall routine ― the shopping, the adjustment in sleeping schedules and juggling transportation issues. Let’s take a look at some ways to prepare yourself and the kids for the annual ritual.
Ease into the new routine
Switching from being able to sleep in every day for the past three months to having to wake to an early alarm isn’t easy for anyone, especially teenagers. You can ease into the new schedule by practicing it for the week leading up to the day school starts.
Set the alarm clock (the kids aren’t going to like this) and then go through a typical school-morning routine. This means making breakfast, packing lunches and whatever else is included in your schedule. Sure, the first practice may be a bit chaotic but by the time school starts you’ll all have it down.
Take Advantage of Back-to-School Night
Starting school for the first time is emotional for the little ones. While they may be excited to move into this new phase of their young lives, they are typically also filled with anxieties. Hey, this is new stuff; can you blame them?
Since they’ve never had a teacher before, a lot of the angst is over what he or she will be like and the best way to meet this fear is head-on. Attend the open house or back-to-school night so your child can meet the new teacher before classes start.
Back-to-school night is also an anxiety eater for older kids as well. They can find their lockers, map out the locations of their classes and meet their new teachers. This paves the way for a smooth landing that first day back at school.
As we go to print most of our area schools haven’t posted the dates for their back-to-school night but they usually occur this month. Check your child’s school’s website for updates.
Many shopping experts claim that parents should buy only enough clothes to last the first few weeks of the new school year. Why? Two reasons: after the back-to-school shopping frenzy dies down (typically in mid-September), retailers hold amazing sales. The second reason is that after a few weeks of school, your kids will know what’s in and what’s not as far as school fashion goes.
There is no avoiding the shopping trip for school supplies, however. Many of our local schools post a supplies list to their websites which you can print off and take with you when you shop. Build excitement about what lies ahead by explaining to the little ones how they will use each item.
Having the required supplies helps students of all ages feel prepared to take on the new school year. If you can’t afford the required supplies, contact the Kids in Need Foundation, a nationwide program that helps parents get what their kids need. Visit them online at www.kinf.org
Although the transition from summer to back-to-school is a tough one for both parents and kids, getting the year off to a strong start is important. This transition “can influence children’s attitude, confidence and performance, both socially and academically,” according to Ted Feinberg, EdD, NCSP, & Katherine C. Cowan of the National Association of School Psychologists.
Yes, children are amazingly resilient and with your encouragement and support they will thrive during their school years.