Here is our list of tangible and specific ideas to help elementary students prepare for heading back into the classroom:
Getting ready for “back to school” takes on new meaning this year, following last year’s unique experience. Here are things you can do at home to help your student prepare for this important transition.
Start the School Routine Early
As part of back-to-school prep, you should get kids back into the swing of the school routine several weeks before school starts. Most families do not keep their standard bedtime during the summer, so it’s time to start enforcing it again. Same thing with when they get up. Early bedtimes usually go out the window over the summer break, but young minds need plenty of sleep to be ready to learn. Get back into a set bedtime routine now so your child isn’t up late the night before the first day of school. Taking this approach ensures they’ll be primed for a more formal schedule and the transition out of summer will be smoother.
Play Board and Word Games
Playing games over the summer is a great way to keep your child’s mind engaged and focused on building learning skills. This will help make sure your child is prepared when classes start and make the back-to-school transition a smoother one.
Read Every Day
Learning shouldn’t stop over the summer. Each day, take at least 30 minutes to sit with your child and read together. This will keep them engaged with learning and in the routine of daily schoolwork. It’s like exercising a muscle – this is a good daily practice.
Help Ease Back to School Jitters
Preparing kids a few weeks in advance for the school year is a must. Remember your school jitters: Will I fit in? Who will I sit with at lunch? What will my teacher be like? How do I find my way around such a big school? Help to calm your child's anxiety – and maybe even your own. Listen to your children's concerns and talk through them. Avoid saying don't be scared or they may feel invalid and shut down. After last year, when families were together more, recognize that students - and parents - may have a tougher time separating when the school bell rings this September. It’s understandable and normal.
Remember that for most students, school will take place AT school this year, not in your living room. It’s a good idea to use opportunities to practice tasks children may need to handle at school (more) independently. Yes of course teachers and school staff will be there to assist but it’s not quite the same as being at home where mom and dad can take care of things quickly and with ease. Give your child chances for age-appropriate independence and set a positive tone of encouragement with reminders that things take practice and time. As the saying goes, “Practice makes progress” and that’s the goal – not perfection – but continued development, which is not the same for everyone...even the children in each household.
Specific tasks that help with such development: