Charlotte Today Blogs

Find posts by keyword
Find posts by date


Balancing the back-to-school routine

by Kim Jacobs

Posted on August 15, 2012 at 4:00 AM

Updated Monday, Aug 13 at 2:12 PM

Preparing for the school year can be stressful for the child and the parent.  The goal is to make sure that the summer time to back to school time transition goes smoothly. The best way to ensure a smooth transition is to start doing some things prior to the first day of school. Below are tips that will help your child, regardless of their age, transition from the summer to the school year successfully:

Discuss Goals for the school year. Talk through what your children want to accomplish this school year.  Do they want to be on the honor roll? Do they want to try out for a team sport? If they are in middle school or high school, do they want to join a club after school? Or do they want to get tutoring in a subject they may have struggled in last year? Do they want to have a certain look or style for the school year? The list should be short and achievable. You want to make sure that you understand what their goals are so that as the parent, you can help them achieve success.

Visit the school and meet the teacher in advance.  If your child is starting kindergarten he/she may be uneasy about going into a new building alone for the first time.  Older grade children may be nervous about being in a new classroom or transitioning to middle or high school or even simply a new teacher. To calm some of these fears, attend open house at your school and make sure that your child meets his/her new teacher.  It is good to do a walkthrough of the building during the open house so that your child gets comfortable with their routine.

Be close to home. Typically, the first week is the biggest adjustment period for children as they re-enter school. During the first week of school, do everything possible to be present at home for your child and support him/her through this transition period. If you work outside of the home, try to be home when your child arrives home or as soon as your schedule permits.  If you work at home with your children, give your undivided attention to your child when they return home from school and make everything else wait. This will help your child get through the first hurdle easier.

Get school supplies before school starts.  By equipping your child with the required school supplies on the first day of school, you make them feel like they have already achieved something right from the start. When their teacher ask do they have a pencil, a folder, a highlighter, or a specialized calculator and they say yes, they started on a positive note with the teacher. Each school has a grade level required school supply list.  For middle school and high school students, the required school supply list is different per subject. 

Practice the back to school routine the week prior. Have your child practice the back to school routine several times before the first day of school.  I recommend that you start this practice run the week before school starts.  Have your child, regardless of their age, go to bed at their age appropriate school year bedtime, wash and brush their teeth in the morning, dress, eat breakfast, and then get started with their day at the time their bus would normally arrive.  Also make sure that they pick out their own outfit and either pack their lunch and backpack or assist you with the process (Depending on their age).

Start Scaling Back on the electronics and television: During the summer, most parents relax on their rules regarding electronic usage and television. Younger children typically spend more time playing video games or hand-held electronics while older children spend hours texting, talking on the phone or on Facebook. As school is quickly approaching, setting a daily limit on these things will help your child have a smoother transition back to school.  You may even have to confiscate these items after your deadline.  Some children try to be slick and say that they are charging their devices in their bedroom at night.  I recommend that you let them charge their devices in an area where no one hangs out in the middle of the night.