As a new school year is about to commence, it can be helpful for the whole family to get back into the swing of things ahead of time. Going back to school can be an exciting, enjoyable time if we are all ready for go time. Don’t forget to make room for fun in the process. Here are some valuable tips for you and your family!

Get them back into their bedtime routine

Sometimes over the summer, we allow our kids to stay up a little later. Now, is the time to start easing back into going to sleep a little earlier as the school year approaches. If your kiddos have been a little more “plugged-in” this summer, help them to start unplugging earlier and more often. Get them in the habit of reading as they wind-down, especially before bed as a part of a calming bedtime routine. It can even be beneficial for parents to try to catch some extra zzz’s, so the entire family is more rested and in a happier, healthier headspace.

Dialogue with your kids about going back to school
What are their thoughts and feelings about starting a new school year, new classes, new teachers, making new friends, and rekindling last year’s friendships. Do they have any fears or concerns that you can help them work through? You may be able to aid your kids in opening up and processing their feelings by reading through some age-appropriate books on going back to school, making friends, navigating bullies, etc. Here are a few fabulous books that can be great resources for you to read with your children: “The Night Before Kindergarten” by Natasha Wing and Julie Durrell, “Curious George’s First Day of School” by H.A. Rey, “First Day Jitters” by Julie Danneberg, “If You Take a Mouse to School” by Laura Numeroff,” “Daniel Goes to School (Daniel Tiger)” by Becky Friedman, “A Smart Girl’s Guide: Drama, Rumors and Secrets (American Girl)” by Nancy Holyoke, and “Llama Llama and the Bully Goat” by Anna Dewdney. Depending on their age, they can also express these feelings or concerns by drawing a picture depicting various scenarios they have or may encounter, or by writing a short story about it.

Get yourself ready
Going back to school will be a smoother process for your entire family, if we are also prepared and ready. Try to connect with your child’s teacher to make sure your child has everything they need to start off on the right foot—school supplies, forms filled-out and turned in, shot records up to date, etc. If possible, it can also be helpful for parents to have a few hours for themselves for some much needed self-care before school starts. Parents are often able to be there own personal best, when they take a little time to reset.

Help get them excited for a new beginning
Everybody can benefit from a fresh start! Remind them about all the positive things that they love about learning and discovering, their friends, new teachers, etc. It may also get your kids pumped about returning to school if they get to go shopping with a parent to help pick-out a new back-pack, lunch box, binder, school clothes, etc. Sometimes, it’s easier to run to the store and grab these items ourselves, but if your child gets to be a part of this process, it can really get them eager to return to the classroom!

Rekindling last years friendships
It’s always comforting to go back to school with a buddy. If your child will be going back to school with a good friend who they haven’t seen over the summer, you may want to set-up a playdate to help them rekindle their friendship. If your child is going to a new school and will be making all new friends, you can try to get them connected with new children once the school year starts. Reading books such as the ones mentioned above can give your children practical tips on how to make new friends. You can also encourage your child to be a good friend themselves by reaching out to others who seem to need a friend too.

Connecting with new teachers
If possible, meet your child’s new teacher and help to make sure they connect with your child from the get-go. Make sure you are on the same page with their teacher, and keep in touch with them throughout the school year, so you’re sure your child is on track and able to take advantage of any specific resources that your child may need. Volunteer to help-out in the classroom or attend a school field-trip. You can be your child’s most influential advocate at school. You’ve got this parents!!