After a long summer of late night bonfires, sleeping in or sleeping over at friends' houses, children need to be transitioned back into their school routine before the school year begins. By gradually easing the change from summer to the school year schedule, you will find your child more relaxed and prepared for the upcoming academic year.
Practice Bedtime Routines
The body's circadian rhythm, which is our internal "body clock," can often be thrown off during the summer when we stay up late and sleep in. This also dictates when our bodies are tired or more alert during the day. By getting your child into the habit of going to bed earlier, as well as waking up earlier, you are training their bodies to be the most alert during the times when they will be at school. This chart also provides a handy guideline for how much sleep your child should be getting every evening.
Waking Up With Purpose
Children need to practice waking up, as well. Some kids pop right out of bed and are ready for the day, while others need time to fully awaken. You will also want to determine how your child will be getting up in the morning: will they set their own alarm, or are they depending on you to come in? What will they do once they are awake, and where will they eat breakfast? Children with special needs or sensory issues may also feel comfort in waking up with a curtain opened to let in gradual sunlight.
Walk Through the School
Schools typically send out classroom teacher information, locker combinations and schedules before school begins. Use this to your advantage and prepare your child for what their day will look like in the school building.
For younger students, email their classroom teacher and see if they are available to meet briefly before school begins so your child can see their teacher and walk around the school and classroom. Many teachers are already in the building setting up their rooms or receiving professional development, so don't hesitate to make contact.
Older students may be apprehensive about using lockers or transitioning from one class to the next. Take a morning and practice going through a typical day, and show them how to handle any frustrations they may face. Practice opening the locker, memorizing their combination and walking through their schedule to ease first-day jitters.
By anticipating the changes that will take place when your child returns to school, you are able to prevent, or at least minimize, the shock of that first school bell.