Getting Ready for Back to School

All good things will eventually come to end and summer is no exception. While Mom and Dad might be doing high-fives because they’ve made it through the summer, little Johnny could be dragging his feet and wondering how he can get out of going back to school.  For him it might mean the end of fun and free time and worry could replace the carefree attitude that he's had all summer.  

If you have a first-timer, the prospect of walking into class that first day can cause anxiety and irritability.  But if you prepare, things can go smoothly and tears can be replaced by smiles. Here are some helpful tips to help you and your child get ready for the first day of school:

1) Talk about what to expect, how his/her day will probably go, and how long they’ll be away each day.

2) If possible, visit the school before the first day of class and introduce your child to their new teacher.

3) Ask around to see if any neighborhood kids can walk to school with your child or ride the bus with him/her that first day. Having a pal can relieve some of the first day jitters.

 4) If they can read, pack a loving and cute message in their lunchbox so that they’ll know you’re thinking of them.

Older kids might have the Back to School Blues and if so you’ll want to put on your salesman suit and really pitch the benefits of new adventures at school every day.

1) Remind them of all the fun they had the previous year and the new friends they're sure to make.

2) Encourage them to get involved with after school activities or sports teams.

3) Keep it positive. Even when your child says, “School is boring and I never have fun,” challenge that negativity with reminders of the previous year’s highlights.

4) Before the Big Day, reconnect with friends that they haven’t seen all summer and organize play dates, sleep-overs, picnics etc. Suggest that Johnny calls them to plan a meeting place the first day of school so he won’t feel all alone when walking into the classroom that first time.

5) Create a plan of action and role-play scenarios that might make your child uncomfortable if he’s anticipating trouble. Discuss how to act if your child’s being bullied, how you can help with math concerns and how to fit in if they are feeling left out. Planning ahead of time how to react can alleviate a lot of stress.

6) Take them shopping. Let them have that backpack or special outfit! Once there’s something to look forward to using or wearing, things can magically shift from bad to good and suddenly they’re ready to start school tomorrow. 

Kids aren't the only ones nervous about starting school. Are you feeling overwhelmed, too? Getting organized and setting priorities will help that immensely so that you feel you have things under control. 

1)  Begin slowly. Ease (yourself and) the kids back into a school year routine gradually. During the last two weeks of summer, re-introduce a school year bedtime. Begin waking late sleepers earlier and earlier, closer to the hour they'll need to rise when school begins.

2)  Make a checklist of all that needs to be done before school starts and feel really good when you check off each item, knowing you're closer to being ready.

3)  Get organized by making or buying a wipe-off frig calendar for school functions, lunch menus, meetings, sports activities, music lessons and play dates. Just seeing it up and ready will reassure yourself that you can handle any stress that comes your way in the coming weeks. 

4)  If you have a large family you might want to have an School Contact List also posted on the refrigerator for last minute phone calls, emails or absence reporting. 

Finally, try to remember that in the end all will fall into place just as it does each year about this time and that life is all about learning to adapt to change and embrace it. Your kids are stronger and more resilient than you could ever imagine and even though it isn’t always pretty it’s how we grow and learn to succeed in life. As Ms. Frizzle from The Magic Schoolbus once said, "Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!"  

Enjoy the rest of your summer break and best wishes from The Russo Team!

Frank Russo
The Russo Team
RE/MAX Professionals

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