Want to get your kids prepped for back to school? It's all about developing a healthy routine to ease your children into the new school year and get them accustomed to their new schedule! Our experts weigh with 6 strategies to get kids psyched to go to school.
1. Show your child what to expect.
Visit the school ahead of time, check out the classroom, lunchroom, bathrooms, playground, and meet staff, advises Mandy Allison, MD, an American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) spokesperson. Let your child explore these new surroundings to get comfortable in this environment.
2. Practice going to school beforehand.
Wake up early with your child and pretend you’re going to school. Go through the motions as a test run, says Dr. Allison.
3. Introduce her to other students.
Dr. Allison suggests you set up a playdate early on with another kid in your child's class, so she has a buddy and sees a familiar face in her new classroom.
4. Read books about starting school.
“There are so many good ones out there, but I used the book The Kissing Hand that addresses separation anxiety with my own preschooler and [I used] A Place Called Kindergarten when my daughter was starting elementary school,” says Dr. Allison.
5. Set a school-year sleep schedule.
Do this a few weeks before your child starts school, explains Mark Minier, MD, an AAP spokesperson and the medical director of pediatrics at Unity Health Care, Inc., in Washington, DC. “Many kids over the summer will stay up later at night and sleep later in the morning. If parents wait until the last few days before school starts to get their child back on a regular routine, kids will start school sleep deprived and out of sync, which could heighten any underlying anxiety about returning or starting school.”
6. Make school enjoyable.
“Talk to your kids' teachers, ask what the child likes about school, what they're good at, etc., and work with the school to find things your child can do to add enjoyment [to the day],” says Jerry Bubrick, PhD, senior director of the Anxiety & Mood Disorders Center of the Child Mind Institute. Some examples, he suggests, include: becoming a peer tutor, helping the teacher with classroom projects, and helping in the library.