School Starts Next Week. Let's get Ready!
The first day of school is around the corner and moms and dads everywhere are trying to figure out how to get themselves and their kids ready. The start of school can feel like a pretty dramatic shift from the relaxation of summer to the scheduled structure of autumn. It can feel a bit shocking to the systems of everyone involved. How can you prepare so your children can ease into the school year with a minimum of jolting and a maximum of energy? Here are four things you can do to get your family ready to go back to school with a bang!
1. Adjust to the Sleep Schedule in Advance
This is one of the toughest things about going back to school. Getting up and getting ready early and on a timetable can feel really difficult the first few days. Yet, you don’t want to take away precious sleep from your kids either... Smooth the shift to earlier mornings by moving bedtime up first. If your kids aren’t naturally sleepy at the right time, try adding in more physical activity during the day and turning lights and screens off sooner in the night. The exercise and the darkness can actually help encourage sleepiness.
A fun way to do this might be going camping minus the phones. Being outside in nature with places to explore and hikes to take, offers excellent exercise opportunities. Then, as it naturally gets dark and a low smoldering fire is the only light, everyone will get sleepier earlier. Conversely, when you are outside, the light of the sunrise is inescapable and very likely to wake everyone up earlier. In addition to all of these functional sleep elements, you also get a chance to make last minute summer memories with your family before things get hectic.
2. Get a Master Calendar
There is going to be a lot going on in your child’s life come September. A new school schedule, new activities, new sports, and new homework assignments among other things. If you have more than one child, you get to multiply all of that complexity a few times over. Plus, you have your own schedule and all the things you are trying to do. It’s a lot to keep track of.
Getting a mater calendar can help keep you and your family aware of all of the moving pieces. If there are conflicts or adjustments that need to be made, those are better acknowledged sooner rather than later. An online master calendar is easily accessible and can be double-checked from any location. A real-life master calendar set up in the kitchen or family room is going to be clearer and easier to absorb at a glance before you run out the door. Whatever works best for your family, use a master calendar to get everyone organized and prepared for the hustle and bustle of fall.
3. Make a Plan for Back-to-School Shopping
This can be one of the more intimidating back-to-school aspects for parents. All the supplies, all the sales, all the books... it can feel pretty overwhelming. It doesn’t have to, though! You just need to lay a little groundwork and you can take on your back-to-school shopping like a pro.
The first thing to do is make your list. If you do this early enough, you can take a few days to check in a few times with your kids and add things that were forgotten the first time around. If that’s not for you, use online shopping lists to give you some ideas. After you have figured out more or less what you need, split your list into sections based on the different stores you will need to visit to find specific
things. This helps you organize the different shopping trips you need to make. This would also be the time to check those stores for any sales or look into secondhand shops for some of the pricier items.
When you know what you need and you know where you are going, plan to make your shopping expedition at a good time. When you are fighting crowds and other parents who are equally serious about the same supplies and clothes you are looking for, that’s when stress levels tend to rise. If you can avoid all of that by giving yourself enough leeway and coming in when there are fewer people, it may be totally worth the hassle of rearranging a schedule to shop at a certain time. Check when your preferred stores are open and use Google maps or other apps to find and avoid the peak hours when those stores are the busiest.
4. Prepare Your Home for Study
Unless your children have been taking summer classes, they probably haven’t been doing much homework over the last few months. Who knows what purposes your children’s study spaces have been put to during summer, but those areas probably aren’t cleared and ready for tomorrow’s homework assignments. Making sure a study place is clean and organized, with all of the little school supplies your child may need, creates a positive environment and optimizes your child’s study efforts. Have your children get involved in organizing their own study spaces so they can know where everything they need will be and so it makes sense to them. This gives them a sense of ownership over their own areas and helps encourage independence. Consider the ideas in this article for more ways to promote self-advocacy in your children.
As you and your children make your preparations, consider what organization items may be needed. Talk together about the supplies that will be for school and which will be for home. Double-check the Wi-Fi strength in your child’s room so a dropped connection doesn’t mess up an online quiz. What about outlets? Does your child’s charger reach or do you need to put in an extension cord? Addressing these potential problems ahead of time helps your child feel equipped for the coming year and keeps the focus on school and extracurriculars as September starts.
5. Review the Previous School Year’s Material
A common issue with getting back to school is much of what your children learned last year has been forgotten and it takes a huge amount of effort to catch up and relearn what they should already know. This is called summer learning loss and it can be combated by keeping your child intellectually engaged via reading, learning something new, educational conversations, or some weekly academic exercises. However, even if you have done all of these things, it is still a good idea to review last year’s notes and tests with your children so they know they remember everything. This gives your children confidence going into the school year, plus they get the chance to ask all of their questions without worrying about what their peers or new teachers might think of them.
If your child is a little too old for you to help, consider getting a tutor to assist you, especially in subjects your child is a little insecure about. A tutor has the expertise and training to patiently answer questions and explain concepts you child may have missed or doesn’t quite truly understand. Spark Tutors is proud to come alongside students and parents to provide help and guidance in those academic areas that need support. We are ready and waiting to connect and encourage all who find themselves unsure or in need of some assistance.
We hope these ideas have reduced some back-to-school anxiety and inspired some excitement for the coming school year. Remember, education is a gift and learning is fun! We’ll see you at the tutoring table!