So summer is coming to an end, and your children are either already back, or are heading back to school. It could be that they are heading to school for the first time, changing to another school such as high school, or simply moving up into another year. The transition from home to school is always a transition for the whole family, no matter what age your children are. Summer is great family time, but routines can become lax and bedtime routines and early morning starts are a hard adjustment to get back to sometimes.
Parents are often glad to have the routine back and will miss the children when they are back at school, but as we all know, school is an important rite of passage and education for our offspring.
Here are some tips to ease the transition:
Reading over the summer may have become more relaxed, I know from experience that children often don't want to read over the holidays, with so many other things to grab their attention, but it is important to try to engage them in books over the summer. Bedtime stories should be a daily thing no matter what, and is a great time for family bonding too. Libraries are treasure troves for children to pick the stories and books that they want to read, and keep them interested. Is your son not wanting to read, but loves sharks? Take him to pick some shark fact books, or even a story book containing a shark - Shark in the Park is a great example, and the children learn without even realising it - great for all!
Nature walks are always great too - no matter the weather, there is always opportunities for exploring, fresh air and learning about the outside world. Taking their bikes or skateboards is not a chore, and if it gets their behinds off the games consoles and sofas, all the better!
Talking about their new school, teachers and/or classrooms is also a great way of keeping school in their minds, and preparing them for the often daunting next step in their school life.
There are a great deal of excellent books out there, from sticker books to more grown up ones, all talking about what happens at school and discussing the school day. Uniform shopping and school supply buying is also something that can be done as a family, letting children choose their own backs and lunchboxes where appropriate can help them feel a part of their changes and help their enthusiasm for school.
There are always opportunities to keep children learning, from counting cars whilst out on a bus, to reading signs and measuring out ingredients for baking following a recipe book - all great fun and educational.
School is always a big step for parents and children - be prepared for your children to be tired and grumpy the first couple of weeks, as their bodies and brains adjust to their new routine. After school, try not to ask too many questions - give your child a chance to rest - decompress when they get home and relax - after all, when you get in from work, sometimes all you want is 5 minutes feet up time with a cup of coffee. Children are the same, let them watch a bit of TV, go in the garden or simply have a healthy snack and a sit down.
Talk to your children about any anxieties they may have and keep on top of homework and school schedules and events - the more organised you are, the more organised your children will learn to be.
Try to keep a positive outlook on the experience, and spend some quality time when they are home, reading books, watching a film or having a nice dinner at the dinner table. Above all, school is fun!