Getting ready for school is more than just a visit to Staples Business Depot shortly before Labour Day weekend. To some, the start of a new school year means a fresh start or reconnecting with friends who have been separated over the summer months. To children, getting back into the school routine can cause feelings of stress, anxiety, or nervousness to arise. What better way to deal with this than to talk about it? Discussing positive experiences children may have throughout the upcoming school year help to turn these anxious feelings into a positive attitude.
To help ease the nerves, try visiting the school over the summer months – some schools remain open over the summer months or are open closer to September. This way, children do not have the stress of trying to find their classroom on the first day of school. For children walking or biking to school, this allows the child to become familiar with the route they will be taking on a daily basis. Make sure to note how much time it takes, so children can avoid being late! Children who are anxious about walking or biking by themselves may find it more comforting to have a friend within their neighbourhood to keep them company.
Children as well as parents need time to adapt to different routines than those of the summer months. Waking up earlier means going to bed earlier; starting this routine prior to the start of school will allow for your child(ren) to adjust to a new schedule come September. In an attempt to make this a smooth transition, you could slowly begin moving bed time back by 5 or10 minutes a night one week before school starts. For children who have a difficult time transitioning, try prompting them with cues such as, “Ten more minutes, then we need to start getting ready for bed!”
Including children in some of the morning and evening rituals will also make it more enjoyable for parents and children. For instance, allowing children to choose what they want to wear to school the next day may allow the child to feel a sense of responsibility and independence. Asking them what snacks and lunches they really enjoy is a good option, as it guarantees they will come home with an empty lunchbox!
Packing lunches and snacks for the six hour school day may be a different experience for some parents who did not have this “daunting” task during the summer. Being organized and planning lunches prior to making a trip to the grocery store can make this task less stressful. Researching new recipes will not only allow you to perfect your skills in the kitchen, but it will also make it exciting for the child to see something new in their lunchbox! I have seen children’s faces light up when their parents have surprised them with a note or added some fun decorative pieces to their lunches.
Having a night (or two) during the week when you can cut up fruits and veggies can also make preparing lunches quicker, especially for those busy nights. Preparing cheese, strawberries, grapes, carrots, cucumber, etc. ahead of time will make it easy to throw them into little containers and into a lunch bag throughout the week. Pinterest has some great recipes and is very user friendly; just type in “fun recipes for kids” in the search bar and click away!
Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful for the new school year:
Ontario Ministry of Education’s “Tips and Tools for Parents” – click here.
Canadian Living’s guide to get “absolutely everything ready for back to school” including back-to-school gear, lunch, breakfast, and snacks ideas – click here.
Be sure to check your local newspaper in August for flyers featuring sales for back to school shopping – this may help save on those indoor AND outdoor shoes!