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Back to School Prep: How to Transition Your Kids from Summer to School Mode

It's been a summer for the books, but now it's time to get back to the books, literally!

We’re all a little less rule-bound in the summer: more light means sleepovers, late (or no) bedtimes, and many camps and other summer activities are more focused on fun in the sun than on academics. And though it may not seem like it, the days are getting shorter, the nights cooler and before you know it the first day of school will be here. But since change doesn’t happen overnight (for kids or adults!), we’ve come up with a few good ideas to help with the transition from summer play to school work.

What do you do to get your kids back into the school mindset? Leave us a comment!

Restart Your Routine

School means routine and the best way to get your kids used to that routine is to give them a head start. About two weeks before school starts, start enacting an earlier bedtime, as well as rise time. Using an alarm may help. Consider structuring more of your day as well, especially meal times. If you can, try to serve meals at approximately the same times your child will be eating throughout the school year.

Sharpen Their Minds

Have you been checking off books from their summer reading lists? Even if it’s just a magazine, reading daily will keep their reading and language arts skills sharp. And don’t forget puzzles! Add more fun, yet factual brain-bending activities into the everyday mix. Sudoku games, crossword puzzles, word searches, and trivia all encourage your child to sit still, focus, and complete a task from start to finish – all tools they’ll need once they’re back in the classroom!

Bring Them Back-to-School Shopping

Create a list (or check in with their school) of all the things your kids will need for the school year. Then head to Target with them in tow and make it a game; who can find the Five Star notebooks the fastest? Most kids love personalizing their stuff, so let them pick out their backpacks, their lunch boxes, even their first day of school outfits. This will give them something to look forward to on their first day back.

Take One Last Family Trip

Get some closure on the summer fun and plan one last outing together as a family. Is there a local waterpark you haven’t hit up yet? Squeezing in a few more memories before the first day of school will make everyone a little more ready when that big yellow bus comes rolling up.

Go for a Test Run

Does your school have a back-to-school night where your child will have the opportunity to meet his or her teacher? Take a trip to school, and get familiar with the new classroom. Make sure to find the cafeteria, gym, library and, of course, the bathrooms! If your child will be using a locker, practice using a lock.

Recognize That Change is Hard

Even after doing all you can to prepare, the transition to school can be trying on your kids so go easy on them. If they’re a little cranky during this time of change that’s ok! Offer them your patience and support and we’re confident you’ll get through it together, as a family.

Feature Photo Courtesy of iStock

Calendar Editor & Writer for Bucks County Parent. Email tips to christine@familyfocus.org.

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