The end of summer can be a bittersweet time for students. While many students look forward to seeing their friends, few want to say goodbye to the relaxing days of summer. Parents know that getting their children back in the school day swing of things can be a challenge. The following are some ways to make that transition go smoothly.
• Introduce more structure as summer vacation winds down. The chance to unwind in a structure-free setting can benefit students at the onset of summer vacation. Many parents grapple with the notion that their children’s lives are over scheduled, and the Cleveland Clinic notes that limiting organized activities clears up down time for kids to play and relax and spend time with their families. So it’s important that parents afford their children this down time during summer vacation, only gradually introducing more structure as the school year draws closer. In the weeks before the school year is slated to begin, start waking kids up a little earlier and reintroducing bedtimes for younger children who may have been staying up later over the last couple of months. This can be an effective way to begin slowly preparing youngsters for the structure of the school year.
• Encourage children to read throughout the summer. A report from the education publishing company Scholastic found that 47 percent of parents are unaware of the “summer slide,” which refers to the loss of academic skills that occurs when school is not in session. Scholastic notes that the slide is largely attributed to a lack of reading when school is not in session. By encouraging kids to read during their summer vacations, parents can make sure youngsters’ brains stay sharp and are ready to learn once the school year begins.
• Focus on the positive. Even kids who love school may be apprehensive about returning to the classroom. After all, summer vacation is fun. Parents can confront that apprehension by focusing on the positives of returning to school. Emphasize the chance to see friends every day or participate in a beloved extracurricular activity, like sports, band or a favorite academic club.
• Let kids do some of their own back-to-school shopping. The items that constitute back to school supplies may have changed since parents were in school. But many parents still take their children on back-to-school clothes shopping excursions. Let kids choose their own clothes, as an opportunity to wear clothes they picked themselves might make them excited for the new school year.
Parents can take various steps to make the transition back to school a successful one for their young students.