Whether you’re dreading hectic school-day schedules or excited for kids to be back in the classroom, most parents agree the transition back to school can be a stressful time.
Change can be trying for kids and adults, but it doesn’t have to be if you tackle the season a little at a time – mentally, emotionally and logistically.
Consider these five school-readiness tips from KinderCare experts to help parents ease the jitters, prepare for school days and set goals to help ensure their children have great years.
1. Ease into school-year routines. Many children thrive on routines. Prep for the transition to a school-day schedule as early as possible by slowly moving your children’s bedtimes up a little each evening. You should also establish school-year breakfast, lunch and dinner routines to help children adjust to regular mealtimes.
2. Take a trial run and figure out what hiccups need addressing. Ask your children’s school if you can take an after-hours tour to increase familiarity and practice your routine. According to KinderCare’s Parent Confidence Report, 61% of parents believe being a parent means constantly thinking about child care gaps, so now is the time to make before- and after-school care arrangements and discuss them with your children. Help ease their nerves by making sure they practice the little things like opening and closing lunchboxes, water bottles and backpacks, and finding their drop off and pick up locations then adjust as needed to make sure they feel confident in each of the tasks.
3. Start back-to-school conversations at home. Children sometimes experience big feelings, and they may not know how to explain what they’re experiencing. Whether it’s excitement, jitters or anxiety around the unknown, having open conversations at home about school can give children a comfortable space to share what they feel and help quell their nerves. This is also a good time to gently remind your children about kindness and acceptance of others. During the school year, monitor your children’s behavior to better understand how they may be feeling.
4. Build strong home and school partnerships. One of the best things you can do for your children is give them the resources they need for success then support them along the way. One way to do this is by building partnerships with your children’s teachers to create a strong foundation for the entire school year. Whether it’s joining the local parent group at school, downloading a classroom app, following your children’s school social media pages or sending an informal “getting to know you” email to your children’s teachers, consistent and effective communication is often beneficial when you face challenges or have questions down the road.
5. Set school-year goals. These don’t have to be formal; they can be impactful and fun, too. This may help your children understand what they’re working toward. Maybe they want to try a new sport or learn a musical instrument. Maybe they would like to increase their math competencies by a letter grade or demonstrate more patience while learning new things. Make a mental note to continuously revisit these goals throughout the year to celebrate progress and growth. Watch for ways you can help them accomplish these objectives with support from counselors, coaches and instructors as well as at home.
For more tips to help ensure a smooth back-to-school transition, visit kindercare.com.