It is always hard to switch gears and get your child into back-to-school routines after a fun summer. Now think about the fact that most kids have had their normal school routines upset over the past two years. Suddenly, getting kids in the mindset for potential in-person learning becomes even more challenging. While in-person learning will differ by school boards and geographic location, most schools are preparing to welcome kids back in person again this September. Is your child emotionally ready? Here are 5 easy ways to ease your child into back-to-school routines.
Start adjusting bedtime routines gradually.
Though kids of different ages require different amounts of sleep, science shows that all kids need sleep and lots of it. Not having enough sleep makes it difficult to learn and retain information. Over the summer, bedtimes tend to get stretched and kids– especially teens – stay up later. Once back-to-school routines resume with early starts, late bedtimes will become challenging. Therefore, start transitioning to earlier bedtimes now. Each week leading up to school, adjust bedtimes to 10 or 15 minutes earlier so that by the time school starts, you’ll be closer to their regular bedtime. Similarly, adjust teens’ curfews by making their bedtime half an hour earlier each week.
Start limiting screen time.
Technology has made binge-watching and scrolling mindlessly through social media a big part of kids’ days. Studies show that too much screen time interferes with sleep patterns. In addition, lack of sleep can lead to obesity and cause behavioural problems.
As a result, it may be a good idea to establish a back-to-school routine of less screen time now. If you haven’t already, banish tech at the dinner table, establish data limits and get alerts for when kids are reaching their limits, store phones outside of kids’ rooms overnight so they’re not tempted to watch into the wee hours.
Set up play dates to re-establish school friendships.
Quarantining had a huge effect on kids since socializing is a big part of child development. Because so many kids lost touch with school friends when sports and school were not in-person, many kids are now anxious about going back to school for social reasons. Since it’s always easier to walk into a place when you see a friendly face, experts recommend setting up playdates with school chums in advance.
Encourage teens to reconnect with school friends as well, in advance of school opening. Anxiety Canada offers back-to-school routine tips for parents whose kids seem overly anxious..
Hit the books.
While summer may have been filled with lots of movie-watching, it’s a good idea to ease younger kids back into learning by bringing out the books. If you’ve fallen out of the habit, start reading bedtime stories and sounding out words together. Similarly, encourage older children to start reading books or articles before bed on their own too.
Start talking up the exciting things to look forward to.
Excitement is contagious! So, start building the excitement about all the fun things ahead. Go out shopping for new school clothes, start gathering school supplies, talk about new friend opportunities, head online together to see what new clubs there might be to join. Remember, how you react determines how your children will react.
To sum up, your child may seem unusually anxious about returning to school this year. That’s understandable, given the past two years we have all had to weather. But by establishing a few back-to-school routines by following some of the tips above, you can help pave the way for a smoother re-entry into the 2021/2022 school year.