Excitement and anxiety, a return to routines, and the possibility of a new teacher and new school can all be a part of the back to school experience. This school year, give your children a strong start by preparing in advance to help them make a smooth transition into the classroom.
For Preschool-Age or Younger
(1) Tour the School or Child Care Center: If your child will be attending a new school or center, schedule a tour in advance of the first day to get them acquainted with the environment. Meet your child’s teacher and spend time in his/her new classroom to help ease first day jitters. (2) Have a Conversation: If your child will be attending school for the first time, have a conversation with him or her, in advance of the big day, to introduce him or her to what the first day of school may look like. Discuss the types of engaging activities they will experience, the new friends they will meet, and some of the activities they might engage in. Build excitement for what the day and the school year will look like. (3) A Good Night’s Sleep: Young children depend on sleep to fuel them for busy days. Start the year off right by making sure they get the full amount of sleep they need each night.
For School-Age Children
(1) Return to Routines: Gradually get back to the bed times and wake up times expected during the school year to help smooth early morning starts on school days.
(2) Tour the School: If your child will be attending a new school, schedule a tour. If possible, meet and speak to your child’s teacher. Also ask about a school supply list and provide any medication information to the school nurse in advance.
(3) Chat with Your Children: After the long summer months, children may need to re-familiarize themselves with the school routine. Sit with your children and reintroduce them to what a typical day at school may look like, including where they eat lunch, the yard, the drop off and pick up locations. (4) Before-and-Afterschool Plan
If you use before-and-afterschool care, you and your child should know the routine. In addition, identify an emergency pick-up person who knows where the school/center is located and what the pick-up routine is in the event you run late.
Practice the 1st Day: First day nerves combined with remembering all the “must haves” for school inevitably create chaos during the morning routine. Why not rehearse a trial run? Pack lunches, make breakfast, and drive the school route in advance to be sure all goes as planned on the big day. It’s inevitable the first day of school will feel a bit rushed and possibly even a little hectic, but with some advanced planning, your children’s transition back to school can run a bit more smoothly.
About the Author
Megan Riede is the Senior Director, Education Programs with Knowledge Universe, the parent company of KinderCare. Megan oversees the curriculum development for all of the education curriculum programs (core and enrichment programs) taught within KinderCare. Additionally, she supports the training of the bilingual teachers dedicated to Knowledge Universe’s Bilingual Mandarin Immersion Program and partners with Knowledge Universe’s Singapore business to develop the Mandarin Curriculum as needed for KinderCare. Before coming to Knowledge Universe, she spent 4 years as a Producer at Leapfrog in Emeryville, CA. developing interactive toys for children ages 3 to 6. Megan holds a BA in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona.