Back to school time is quickly approaching; the teachers and I cannot wait to see your students! The start of school often brings some worried feelings for students, some students will experience bigger worries than others and that is totally normal. Below are eight of my back-to-school tips to help ease the transition and make mornings easier in your home all year long.
1. Visit Villa.Take advantage of Packet Pick Up Week! Pick up your back-to-school packets and drop off your school supplies August 9-11 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 P.M. On August 9th, most teachers will be in the building! This gives your students a chance for a quick one-on-one conversation with their new teacher(s). This also allows them to have the chance to see their place in the classroom, find their locker/cubby/hook. Being in the school can also help them picture and practice the quickest route to the bathroom, lunchroom, or office. Allow them to walk with you along their route to those places if they need to. Also help your child practice what their morning will look like most days during this time so they feel extra confident that first week of school.
2. Meet with friends. As these last weeks of summer start to wind down, set up a few play dates with students in their grade level. This will remind students they have all been away from school for the summer. It will also help establish strong friendships to look forward to the first week of school.
3. Make learning fun. Online academic games and even board games can help students feel confident heading back into the classroom. It’s also time to make sure all summer assignments have been at least started at this point so the last few days are not miserable for you or your student!
4. Practice makes perfect. Review with your students where things belong. For example, explain that the three-ring binder is for World Language or the markers go in the plastic pencil box. For younger students, practice opening and closing lunch boxes/containers. Practicing eating lunch in the 20 minutes we have at school for lunch. This encourages independence and makes them aware what that time will feel like. Don't worry: we are always there to help in the cafeteria!
5. Sleep matters. Establish a bedtime routine Many children tend to worry more when they are more tired. Most elementary children need 9-12 hours of sleep a night. Setting a bedtime and bedtime routine that allows your child sufficient sleep will help them to be successful this school year.
6. Rise and shine. A morning routine with a healthy breakfast with protein is a good way to start the day. Healthychildren.org states, "Studies show that children who eat a nutritious breakfast function better. They do better in school, and have better concentration and more energy." Some students with extra worry may even benefit from a visual schedule of what they need to do each morning.
7. Be positive. Stay positive about going back to school! Elementary age children will feed off your energy. If you talk about the positive parts of going back to school, it will help your child have a good attitude about school. There is a lot to be excited about: learning new things, reading new books, new school supplies, friends, teachers, and enrichment classes just to name a few!
8. Make a plan. Finally, on the first day of school, during the drive to school or before your child leaves you for the day, run through the plan (who will pick them up and what time, what's for lunch that day, what specials class will they have, something fun your family will do after school). This will help ease any stress or worry they may have about what is going to happen that day. I suggest having a drop-off routine including the same final words every day so students know it is time to get out of the car and tackle the day.
We can't wait to have our VILLAge back together this school year! I look forward to seeing everyone on August 16th.