I don’t want to be accused of rushing through summer, but school is around the corner and there are some steps we can take now to minimize back to school stress for our kids (and maybe, just maybe, for ourselves).

Three to Four Weeks Before School Starts

btsblacksquarePop The Question: Remind your children that there is still plenty of time left in summer–three or four weeks—and ask if there is anything that they wanted to do that they haven’t done yet (within reason). It’s an important check point for the family and a reminder of where we are in the season.

Don’t Make After School an After Thought: Whether your child attends Right At School or any other after-school program, make sure you’re registered now. Many programs fill up early, and procrastination rarely pays off.

All-Aboard The Orient Express:   Make every effort to attend your school orientation “meet and greets.” Even if this isn’t your first rodeo, it’s a great help for your children to get back into the hallways and classrooms now, before the school year kicks off. 

One to Two Weeks before School Starts

Get Back To The Future: It’s time to get into the school-day rhythm. That means alarm clocks and routines need to start up again…you can “sell it” to your children that you want them to wake up earlier to have fuller summer days, but make sure they get back in the habit (or start the habit) of waking themselves up and dressing themselves. And start each morning with a great breakfast!

Location, Location, Location: Identify a mutually agreeable spot for doing homework as well as a place where backpacks, lunch boxes, sports and music gear and the other goodies should be kept. Let them give you ideas so they can take ownership.

Declaration of Independence: Sit down and have a talk about your expectations. What additional responsibilities will you expect this year? Showing you their homework without being asked? Writing down assignments? Now’s the time to set the stage. Even if your children are very young, you can build their confidence today but giving them the skills needed to succeed—from tying shoes to writing their names.

Smile!: Be positive about going back to school. Talk about all the fun aspects—there is no need to turn this into a downer. From great teachers to best friends, fantastic after school programs to recess—elementary school is a time to be cherished. Celebrate it!

I would write more but it’s a Sunday in late July and we’re off to the pool! Talk to you again at the start of school.

Keeping Our Kids Engaged This SummerDon’t Ask Your Kids These Questions