As a parent, back-to-school season can bring an overwhelming range of emotions. You’re sad to see your children go, but happy to have some personal time; you might be a little relieved that you’ll no longer need to keep your kids entertained 24/7 but simultaneously feel guilty about that sense of relief; and the whole time you’re stressed about the complicated scheduling, homework, and anxieties that inevitably accompany a child’s return to the classroom. We’ve compiled some ideas to help both you and your children navigate the back-to-school transition.
How to help your child ease the transition
To help your child adjust to his or her new schedule, move bedtimes (and wake-up times) earlier by a nightly increment of 10 minutes in the week or two leading up to school. Try to schedule it so they have at least 2-3 days of going to sleep and waking up at the proper time before the first day of class. Studies show that children’s sleep requirements decrease as they grow—children between the ages of 3 and 6 need 10-12 hours of sleep a night, 7 to 12-year-olds need 10-11 hours, and teenagers should be getting 8-9 hours. Use these guidelines, along with your school’s start time, to determine what hour your child needs to be in bed to be fully rested for the day ahead.
Requiring your kids to wake up early in the weeks leading up to the first day of school will help their bodies adjust to their new bedtimes. To guarantee they’re alert and ready to learn (and to make any late sleepers happier about waking up early!), couple the new sleep routine with a clear mealtime routine. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so be sure to provide healthy food that will fuel the children through a long school day.
If your children are bummed out about the loss of their free time, make the transition more fun by allowing them to pick out new gear, like a backpack, outfit, or lunchbox. You don’t need to go overboard when shopping; just do enough to make the start of school feel as exciting as the start of summer.
If your child is particularly anxious about his or her first day of school, try reading uplifting books with school-centric plots, and remember to talk with him or her about how much fun it can be. You might want to share encouraging stories about your own school experience. Positivity is key; if they see you acting stressed and nervous about back-to-school season, it will provide a stronger foundation for their anxiety. If your kid is afraid of getting lost or being in a new environment, try scheduling a time before classes start to visit the school. That way, your child will have a sense of the building and the classroom, and they’ll be better able to focus on learning and making friends.
How to make back-to-school easier on the parents
Keep track of and fill out any school paperwork that has been mailed to you before classes officially start. This is for your own peace of mind as well as for the benefit of your children’s teachers; it also gets it out of the way for the onslaught of permission slips and forms that your kids will bring home during the first week of class. While you go through the paperwork, be sure to mark your calendar with any relevant dates—think back-to-school nights, parent-teacher meetings, and any school holidays or scheduled events.
One of the best back-to-school strategies is to get everything ready the night before: lay out your children’s outfits, make sure their backpacks are packed and their homework is done, pack lunches (or have the kids do it themselves!), and prepare as much of breakfast as possible. Some parents make steel-cut oatmeal overnight in a slow cooker; that way, it’s easy to just set out fruits, berries, or syrups in the morning so the kids can customize their own breakfasts.
Choose the Right Nanny for School Year Help
The ability to choose the right nanny to help with your family’s back-to-school transition is made easier when you have outlined your family’s specific needs. Before school begins, make sure you arrange for transportation (especially to-and-from extracurricular activities) and after school care. Many families find that having a part-time nanny makes the September transition much simpler, especially when faced with back-to-school tighter schedules. If you’re looking for a caregiver, be sure to choose the right nanny for your family’s needs. For example, do you want someone who can drive or who has a teaching background? Spending some time clarifying your expectations and requirements regarding a nanny or after school caregiver is ultimately one of the most beneficial things you can do to ease the transition into the school year. We know that ensuring your children’s well-being is your most important priority. It is ideal to secure a nanny before school is in full-swing, so your children have plenty of time to adjust to her before they get overwhelmed by classwork and activities.
Establishing your nanny expectations and being transparent when communicating duties and responsibilities will ensure that your nanny is ready for the task at hand. Life is stressful, especially at this time of year! Enlisting the help of a nanny to manage the tricky day-to-day details can allow you to focus more effectively and positively on the time you get to spend with your children.