Like most parents in the Northern Hemisphere, easing my kids into a new school year has been on my mind lately. Starting the school year off right can go a long ways towards having happy kids who get more out of school! Today I am sharing some back to school parenting tips that apply whether you send your child to public school, private school, a cooperative school, or homeschool!
Parenting Tips for Back to School
My three school-age kids take lunch to school every day, and bring home papers every week. Add in homework, doctor’s appointments, and extracurricular activities and it is easy to feel overwhelmed! Do as much organization as possible before the school year starts, and reassess throughout the year to see if there are things you can streamline or that need reorganizing. If life feels too overwhelming, see if there are commitments you can remove from your life.
Starting a new school year is much less stressful if kids know what to expect! Help them be prepared by setting expectations before the school year starts. What will their day look like? What can they learn about their teacher? Will any friends be in their class? Where are the bathrooms, and what are the rules about going to the bathroom? Try writing a letter to the new teacher to ease the transition to new class.
Provide Down Time
A new school year means a lot of new experiences. Expectations change as children move into new grade levels, and it can be a lot to process. Making sure your child has some down time every day can reduce stress levels and helping them to adjust quickly to any changes.
Make Room for Fun
It can be hard to adjust from a fun, laid-back summer into school! Make sure that you still have time for fun as the school year starts! Little details help keep things light, from fun after school snacks to lunch box notes to family game nights and telling jokes around the dinner table.
School often makes life busier for the entire family, and that can mean fewer opportunities for communication. One easy way to maintain communication is by setting aside time each day – maybe at dinner or bedtime – to talk about what each family member liked about the day, and what they would change if they had a do-over.
What are your top tips for easing kids back into a new school year?
MaryAnne was raised in the United States, Guatemala, France, Bolivia, and Austria. Her first daughter was born in Scotland, and she now lives with her husband and their four children in Silicon Valley, California. You can find MaryAnne writing about creativity, learning, and play at Mama Smiles – Joyful Parenting.