Transitioning from a laid back summer into the school year is always difficult, even if everyone is ready to get back into it. So, when SWISSGEAR asked me for advice on making that transition, I was eager to jump on board and think up my 5 best tips for making the transition as seamless as possible.
1. Make your school shopping adventure one to remember!
I will always love going school shopping. My mom would take me out to lunch, we would shop, maybe get a haircut, and then come home to look at the goodies. Some years we would travel to a different town, some years it was in a packed van with my siblings, and some years it was just the two of us. Whatever the circumstance or budget, my mom made it feel like such a special day, which made going back to school feel equally special and exciting.
It will be fun to watch Matilda grow into her SWISSGEAR backpack over the next few years. She loves the bright colors (orange is her favorite right now) and the variety of pockets. I love that it will easily fit folders, an extra set of clothes, her lunch box, and that the quality of each bag will last!
2. Visit the school/classroom/teacher and do a dry run (more than once, if you can).This will be different for everyone, but if you can make a trip to the school ahead of time to meet the teacher, see the classroom, and learn a little about the school it will make everyone feel more comfortable on that first day. It might not even hurt to come back and practice the drop off, a solo walk down the hall and back, or explore the playground before it has to be done in front of so many new people.
This is also a good time to talk about school expectations and rules. Raising hands, walking in a straight line, listening to the teacher, keeping hands and feet to yourself, showing kindness to everyone, and not running in the hallways, are all things that can be practiced at home during playtime. Just take turns pretending to be the teacher and the student.
3. Read lots of books about school.Kids often can't put into words what they are nervous about. Reading books together opens up the dialog and can be the starting point for some really fantastic conversations. Spend some extra time together talking about school to let your children know that you care, that is is important, and that you are always there to support and encourage them. Here is a list of some of my favorite back to school books: The Berenstain Bears Go To School, The Night Before Kindergarten, First Day Jitters, My Teacher is a Monster!, On the First Day of Kindergarten, Kindergarten Here I Come, The Kissing Hand, and If You Take a Mouse to School.
4. Practice the morning routine for at least a week before school starts.
This one is so hard for me. I am not a morning person and really enjoy the slow mornings that summer brings. But, everyone in the house will feel more prepared and less stressed if you can ease into school mornings before they actually start. Set the alarm, get everyone up and dressed, make lunches, grab backpacks and whatever else, and shuffle into the car. Then, maybe go for a picnic at the park, have a playdate with some friends (bonus points if they are with classmates), or go to the grocery store. Whatever you do, I guarantee that the practice will make the first real morning of school feel a whole lot less stressful for everyone involved.
5. Listen to the what your children need and adjust your plan accordingly.
Everyone is different. Some kids need a little extra excitement and some need everything to be low key and relaxed. I have never taken my son's picture on the actual first day of school because I know it would add to his stress, but your child might really look forward to the extra attention - it all just depends on who they are.