New year, new routines. Not to mention new pencils, new backpacks, and new toys! The start of a new school year can bring lots of excitement along but along with all of this freshness and new beginnings, your child can experience some fluctuating emotions. Change isn't always easy and not every child handles all the curves of a new year with ease. But helping your child navigate this new start and slowing things down so they can process is key to helping start the year off right. And as you gather those supplies, make sure to include space and time in the days leading up to school to relax and have time for open-ended play.
We've compiled 10 tips for helping your child get back into the mindset for school in a calm, cool, and collected way.
- Take your child with you to shop for back-to-school items. It’s important to get buy-in from your child on what they want though because it will help build their excitement for school.
- While school supply shopping, ask your child to put a check mark next to the items they want to be in charge of finding. They may not care about that ream of paper but they’ll certainly want to choose their folders and binders.
- Staying up late during summer vacation makes it difficult to readjust to a school schedule. A month before school starts, push bed time back by a few minutes each night. Your child will hardly notice they having adjusted their body clocks to school-day hours.
- Choosing new school clothes and shoes can be a big factor in how excited your child will be for school. Set a budget before heading to the stores. Then let your child help choose. This is their chance to express some individuality.
- Ease kids back into learning before school starts in fun ways. Provide toys that build skills while having fun such as the Four by Four Building Blocks, which encourages creativity and color and height arrangements. Any of our HABA games, in fact, will build skills for a variety of ages.
- Practice in-school behaviors such as sitting quietly and attentively for a period of time that is age and grade appropriate. Practice raising hands and requesting permission to speak. Let your children act as the classroom teacher and you too raise your hand as part of role play.
- Make sure younger children know how to work buttons and zippers. Preschoolers need to be able to remove sweaters and coats as well as pants for using the bathroom. They need to be able to tie or buckle shoes too.
- Make sure your child knows their name, address and phone number.
- Don’t over-talk school. There’s a delicate balance between trying to prepare a child for school and overwhelming a child. Prepare them for the fun they’ll have through role play, using one or more of our plush or flexible Little Friends dolls.
- Focus on the basics for you and your children. Drink lots of water, create space in the day for quiet activities, eat healthy snacks, and continue having outdoor adventures and soaking up the beautiful fall weather.