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  • Writer's pictureMonarch

Back to School

Updated: Apr 16

Back to School

We know! It's only August! Here in Minnesota (where Monarch Learning & Attention Center is located), some of our kids will start school at the end of this month! Thinking about back to school and the new school year in August might feel very early, yet it can be a helpful time to check in about starting new routines or returning to tried-and-true ones. This can help ensure an as-smooth-as possible transition to the upcoming school year. It is also a great time to start preparing kids (and adults too) for the transition and everything that goes along with it.

Below, are some helpful reminders regarding routines and preparation to help the year start off on a positive note.

  • Restart routines

  • About two weeks before school starts, move bedtime earlier and start helping your child wake up at “school wake up” time. Your child, depending on their age, can stay awake and continue their morning routine, or may choose to wake up, complete their morning routine and then go back to bed (which is totally ok). Your child's morning routine may include: getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, washing face, etc. The routine should include all of the activities they will complete before school.

  • Around two weeks before school starts, also start an afternoon or after dinner routine. During this time, your child may choose to complete a quiet activity (e.g., read/listen to a book, color, draw, etc.). What your child chooses to do during this time (as long as it is not electronics) does not really matter. The goal is to get back into the routine of having time set aside to complete homework and/or calm down before bedtime.

  • Make a homework space

  • Allow your child to help talk about and create a space for homework. Help your child think about what items they might need on hand (e.g., pencils, paper, laptop, etc.) and anything that might be a distraction (e.g., like the television or noisy siblings). Ideally, this location should be somewhere your child, depending on their age, has easy access to you. This also allows you to keep an eye on your child and help them stay on task, as needed.

  • Create a family calendar

  • Include important upcoming events, like their school’s opening house or the first day of school. This can help young children gain a sense of when activities will occur and can also help older children have easy access to information about upcoming events. Consider using a different color for each family member and allowing children to help decide their individual color. Children of all ages may enjoy seeing upcoming events, such as birthdays for family members and friends.

  • Stock up on lunch and snack favorites

  • Does your child prefer to bring lunch from home so they know what is for lunch and they have what they like? Mine too! The night before the first day of school is a stressful time to plan out lunch, especially with everything else going on. The week before school starts, talk with your child about what they enjoy having for lunch and stock up. If they enjoy eating or drinking warm things, consider how to keep those items warm in their lunchbox (maybe a thermos). Will they need an ice pack to keep cold things cool? Having easy snacks on hand can also be helpful for kiddos that come home from school or other activities ready for something to eat.

In addition to restarting routines, it is also helpful to prepare for all of the new things that will happen with the upcoming school year in mind. For some students, they are attending a brand new school with all of the new things that come along with that: new bus stop, new teacher, new kids, new playground, new lunchroom, etc. For other students, going back to the school they attended last year can cause mixed feelings.

Below are some strategies to help make the transition to school easier by preparing, planning, and celebrating the upcoming school year. Feel free to add these ideas into current tools that you already use!

  • Take advantage of a Back to School night so that your child can see their classroom and teacher before the first day. This can also be a time to explore who your child might already know in their class (if they haven't already connected with friends) and possibly drop off school supplies. A Back to School night may also be a time to find places that your child might be wondering about. Do they want to see the library? Would it be helpful to know where the closest bathroom is or how they will walk to the lunchroom from their classroom? Let your child take the lead. If they are not interested in going to see or find places, that’s ok. If they want to see all of the places they can while at school, that’s ok.

  • Start to talk about the first day of school and the transition back to school. This could be done by reading books about the first day of school. Scholastic Parents has a list of books, organized by age, to read with your child.

  • While reading a book about going back to school, consider taking time to check in with your child about how they are feeling. Does anything that is being discussed in the book also feel true for them? Are they feeling excited/worried/unsure/thrilled? Depending on your child, they may have lots to discuss or nothing. Both reactions are ok! Some children need time to consider things and others are ready to jump in and react. Again, let your child take the lead and whatever they might be feeling, that's ok.

  • Continue to check in with your child about how they’re feeling about the first day, about riding the bus or being dropped off or walking to school, about walking into the building, about finding their classroom, about where to put their things, about lunch, about recess, about finding the bathroom, about going home after the first day, about anything else. Please do not ask all of these questions at once! That will likely be overwhelming for your child and you. Feel free to bring up questions within other conversations.

  • Consider helping your child set an intention or goal for the upcoming school year. Maybe they want to focus on working toward something like independently reading a chapter from a favorite book or maybe they want this school year to be all about gratitude. This goal or intention can be a way to start conversations with your child about their day.

  • Make back to school shopping special. Setting aside time for back to school shopping can help increase excitement for the upcoming year. Allow your child to pick out items from their school list or a new backpack. Talk about how these items are for their upcoming school year and find a special space to keep them while preparing for the first day. Picking out a special first day outfit can also help your child get excited for the first day of school.

  • On the first day of school especially, send a note to school with your child in their backpack, with their snack for the day, or in their lunchbox. The note might include a thoughtful message, a funny joke, or a silly drawing; whatever you think your child would enjoy or would make them smile. A note also lets your child know that you are thinking about them even when you are not close by. This is a practice that could be continued throughout the school year.

How does your family get ready for the new school year? Feel free to leave a message below!

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