Carefree and easygoing fun are quintessential hallmarks of your average Canadian kid’s summer vacation. An afternoon of street hockey or exploring the neighbourhood on bike can turn to slushies and watching movies on a dime during these happy-go-lucky days. It is exactly this unbridled summer freedom that can make shifting back to the fixed schedules and routine of the school year all the more challenging. Here are a few simple tips to help both your kids and you get through this transition as smoothly as possible.
Talk Through the Change
Be sure to make room in your day for some one-on-one time with your child. Don’t forget that returning to school can be a stressful time made even more difficult when it involves starting at a new school. One of the best things you can do as a parent is talk openly and honestly with your child. Be sure to reassure them that feeling sad or anxious about change is okay. Change is a normal part of life but the new experiences that come with it can also be exciting and fun.
Be Aware of Your Own Anxiety
Kids aren’t the only ones that can feel anxious about school starting up again, as a parent it is absolutely normal to worry about your child. The important thing to keep in mind here is that your kids will be looking to you during stressful times. If you are nervous about your child starting at a new school or going into a new grade, they will pick up on that and feel nervous too. Just remember to stay positive during this adjustment period and focus on the big picture.
Get a Full Night's Sleep
Next to proper nutrition, there are few things as important as a good night’s sleep. Many studies link the quantity and quality of a child’s sleep with their performance at school in addition to their overall wellness. Sleep is important so don’t let your child get short changed; set a regular sleep schedule for everyone in your home (school age or not) and try to limit running around in the morning by prepping lunches the night before.
BONUS TIP: A frozen box of Minute Maid juice or Five Alive real fruit beverage in your child’s lunch can double as a refreshing drink and a freezer pack to keep their lunch cool.
Designate a Homework Space
Remember how much you loved homework as a child? Me neither.
To keep the experience of doing homework a pleasant one, try designating a special area in your home as a “Homework Zone” away from noisy conversations, inquisitive siblings and distracting TVs and devices. Setting a time for homework (immediately after school, before dinner or after dinner) and keeping this space stocked with healthy snacks can go a long way to making homework an enjoyable part of your child’s routine.
Use Technology to Stay on Track
Balancing screen time with disconnecting is a problem unique to the modern parent. Though they can be distracting, device like smartphones and tablets can also be invaluable tools in teaching organization and time management skills. Try making use of a shared calendar and planning apps to help your child stay organized and help you stay on top what project due dates or school events they have coming up. Though nothing will replace a good old fashioned face-to-face conversation, apps can help your child feel independent and responsible for their own success.