This time of year usually means that most children over the age of 3 are embarking on a new adventure. Often a 3 or 4-year-old is off to preschool for at least two days a week. Children that are 5 and up are usually gearing up to start school. We start school after Labour Day. Some families have started and others will be embarking on this adventure in the next few days.
This means that as parents we are trying to best prepare our children for a smooth transition to this next part of the year. This can be exciting and stressful all at the same time.
Here are some basic things that can help make this an exciting time:
1. Start talking about it now.
- If you have not started talking about the new school year this is a great time to get the children geared up. Try to stay focused on the positives (making new friends and learning new things).
2. Validate their feelings.
- If they are excited; but, you are nervous to see them off to school stay focused on their feelings. Be excited (“Fake it to Make it”) for them. Validate your feelings with other adults.
- If they are nervous let them talk it out. It is important not to say “You have nothing to be nervous about?’. Instead try asking “What is making you nervous”, “What scares you?” and for the really young ones try asking “What is making your body feel scared or nervous?” and then problem solve with them. Give them ways to deal with their concerns. Click here for tips on how to deal with separation anxiety.
3. Getting their sleep patterns on track.
- Start moving their bedtime in 15-minute increments every few days until they get to the right time.
- You can use the same stately for the early morning wake up. Either set an alarm for your child or start waking them up 15-minutes sooner than usual. For teens, you may have to speed up the process a bit so I would suggest doing this in 30-minute increments.
4. Returning to or developing structure and routine.
- Developing a Routine that works for your family may take a bit of time. You may discover that the routine you have set up does to work for your spouse or child. To avoid this it can be helpful to sit down a discuss the things that need to be done and together you can come up with a plan that works.
- Posting a list of the routine helps. For younger children, pictures work well. The lists can prevent you from feeling like a nag. The child can be reminded of their chart and hopefully, they will follow it.
- Here is a previous blog post that discusses the reasons routines are a good thing in my humble opinion.
5. Involving the children in the preparation.
- Insert sigh or panic here!
- On a more serious note by involving your child in picking out the supplies and clothes (if needed) you may see their enthusiasm for school increase. The reason is that they cannot control the fact they have to go school but they can control what they bring with them or where.
- In addition to the supplies and clothes that may be needed, it is time to get the cupboard, freezer, or fridge filled with school snacks. If you are at a loss for what to send hit Pinterest!!
Now I am off to bake some cupcakes (with my son) so my son’s teacher can put them in the freezer for special occasions.
Feel free to contact me by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to set up a phone consultation if you would like more tips to make the transition to school a positive one.
Bye for now!