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With the summer holidays almost over, it’s time to get yourselves and your kiddos ready for the new academic year. Starting school entails so many changes like new friends, teachers, clothes, and classrooms, and it's only normal for children (and parents alike) to feel a little nervous about going back to school. Here are some easy steps to follow in order to help make this transition a breeze!
Creating a consistent routine is truly crucial for kiddos, no matter the age. Explain all the steps involved in your routine - write them down, discuss them together and rehearse them. Let them know what it entails to get ready for school, such as what time they will wake up, how much time they will have for breakfast, what they will need to prepare for getting out of the door for school - as well as what's expected of them after returning back home, like homework, allowed play time and night time routine.
If your kiddo has been staying up late and snoozing all morning, waking up early for school would be a big shock. Start focusing on a consistent wake-up time, and trying to get them into bed early. Winding-down activities like taking a relaxing bath and reading a book before bed can make the bedtime process easier for all of you. Don't worry, in a few days, their internal clock will reset itself.
Get your kiddo actively involved with you when preparing for back to school. Let them pick their own school supplies and their clothes, this will help them become a hundred times more excited about getting back to school. You can also encourage them to help around the house with simple tasks, such as setting up the table, emptying the dishwasher, giving a hand while preparing meals and taking out the trash. Those daily (and obviously age appropriate) tasks will give a boost to your child's independence and confidence.
Your child's school backpack is the star of the show when it comes to your back-to-school shopping. When choosing the perfect backpack, you need to focus on several factors such as durability (it needs to withstand everyday heavy use) and being comfortable to wear (the ones that are too heavy or not correctly worn can result in muscle strains, headaches and neck pain). Choose a backpack made of sturdy, lightweight fabric with wide, padded straps that will support your kiddo’s shoulders. Remember to always test before you buy - bring a few personal items that your kiddos normally carries to school (like their water bottle and lunchbox) and slip them into the backpack to get a better sense of size and weight distribution.
Still looking for the right backpack? Grab your kiddos and head over to The Galleria, where you'll find an abundant variety of great backpacks, and also get the chance to win one of 20 awesome Back-To-School prize packs.
Get your kiddos involved in preparing their lunchboxes and snacks. Take them with you while grocery shopping and talk about all the healthy choices they can buy. Let them help prepare their food before heading to school, and give them the freedom to choose what (healthy) items they want to pack. Sticking to regular meal times helps children eat better and having a routine helps them know what to expect when it comes to meal times.
Keep speaking about safety rules over and over with your kiddos. Review the basic safety rules for outdoors, like always walking on sidewalks, looking both ways carefully before crossing streets and most importantly being very cautious when it comes to speaking with strangers.
Our children are now experts when it comes to washing hands, sanitizing and wearing their masks and face shields. All schools have safety and health measures in place, remind them to always remember to follow those rules and keep their social distance where necessary.
It's safe to say that most kids have been glued to their screens over the summer vacation, and now is the perfect time to re-establish some screen time limits. We, as parents, are also guilty about being stuck to our smartphones the whole day, so why not start this a family initiative? Start a habit of having “unplugged” family evenings before going to bed, where everyone can leave their electronics to charge overnight and use old-school alarm clocks for waking up in the mornings instead.
If your child is starting at a new school, it can be very a nerve wrecking experience full of new faces and new rules. Help your kiddo get used to the venue by practicing walking to the school, driving to the bus stop or to the school building a week before starting school. If possible and allowed, you can go together to school and have some fun playing in the school's playground. Getting familiar with the place and creating fun memories there, would do wonders in easing this big transition in your kiddo's life.
Let your kiddos know that feeling anxious about starting school is completely normal, even teachers feel the same way. Help your child understand and cope with those feeling by:
- Letting them speak about their fears and getting their feelings out of the system. You can share stories about how you were nervous about your first day of school, when you were a kid yourself, or how you still feel nervous on the first day of a new job.
- Teach them how to take deep long slow breaths to help calm their nerves.
- Do lots of pretend play regarding the scenarios that are making them feel nervous. If they're are anxious about making friends and how they will sit and speak with on their first day, guide them and do lots of roleplay so that they can rehearse and feel more comfortable.
Celebrate the first day of school and let your kiddos perceive this transition as something that is happy and enjoyable. You can go all out - bake a cake, blow out some balloons, wrap their school supplies and celebrate big as a family or invite some of their friends too.
Don't forget to snap some pictures of your little ones with their first-day-of-school outfits and cherish those special moments forever. It is going to be an awesome year, everybody!
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