WASHINGTON — With school events and meetings, hectic sports schedules and afterschool activities coming back into our schedules, kids and parents alike need to prepare for the transition back to school.
“During the summer, children become used to a different routine. Meal and sleep schedules are often different due to long summer days, freedom from school schedules and summer travels,” says parenting coach Kerrie LaRosa.
In order to avoid a groggy student on the first day, LaRosa suggests returning to a “more school-like schedule” by adjusting bedtime and wake-up times to match those of school. And not just little ones: Older students will benefit from the summertime wean, too.
Some children, especially those attending school for the first time or starting at a new school, may be anxious about the first day. LaRosa has some tips to help calm their nerves:
LaRosa says parents are eager to learn every detail about their kids’ day, but children can be intimidated by too many questions.
“Follow their lead and offer them support transitioning home by playing with them or sitting with them while they have a snack or do their homework. And, when they are ready, they will offer more information about school. You just need to be there are ready to listen,” she says.
She adds to expect some “behavioral regression,” including a regression in potty training for youngsters in the first couple of weeks at school. However, she says, “with consistency and some extra hugs, your child should adjust to the new environment.”
Parents also need to pace themselves regarding back-to-school adjustments. Try to attend the events and meetings you can, but don’t stress and try to move mountains if you can’t make every classroom coffee or event, LaRosa says. There will be opportunities to get involved and volunteer throughout the school year.
Editor’s Note: WTOP’s Katie Howard is a mom on the go. With two children under age 7, she’s always looking for ways to provide her family fast and healthy snacks, meals and activities. Katie shares her go-to food and family fitness tips on her blog “Good to Go.”