August: the month when the lazy days of summer are beginning to come to a close. Gone are the days of sleeping in late, relaxing by the pool, and enjoying vacations with family and loved ones. While summer brings a variety of fun activities for young ones, it can also bring a great change in their schedule. Due to the fact that kids are not in school, morning wake-up times become later, and bedtimes arrive at a tardier hour. Meal times become altered due to the host of new events the child may be involved in. Nap times for the wee ones also arrive a different time. While some of this change can be a nice break from the regular school-year routine, some can prove to be a challenge for parents when it is time to resume the normal schedule. What are some tips and tricks for avoiding a tough transition back to normalcy? Read on for five tips from a teacher’s perspective.
Tip #1: Keep communication open with children as the new school year approaches. It is perfectly normal for children—especially young ones—to be anxious about school starting back up. Rather than waiting until August to have conversations about the new year, try having them earlier in the summer. Planning out the year together through talking can greatly help. From what goals the child will have—like making three new friends, enrolling in a new course like band, or making honor roll—conversations like this like this help lessen the avalanche of anxiety that a new school year can provide for some young ones.
Tip #2: Cue the alarm clocks early on! Waiting until the week prior to school starting is too short notice for some to get used to waking up early again. While it may not be as fun, try starting at least two weeks before school starts, in regard to scheduling bedtimes and wake-up calls. It might be wise to plan some type of activity—like a swimming class, band camp, or art course—that meets early in the morning. This way, children are excited to wake up early again.
Tip #3: Don’t stress how they dress. Yes, a new school year does require a change in wardrobe. Some schools require a uniform, and all follow a dress code. The casual attire of summer will need to be altered. However, it is not an area to overwhelm a child about. Make summer clothes shopping fun, and allow children to pick a few items themselves—from the color of a shirt, to a new hair bow, small liberties like this will allow little ones to display their own freedom of expression.
Tip #4: Don’t leave learning at the classroom door. Just because children are not in school, does not mean it is a time to allow them to digress intellectually. Incorporate learning through summer activities. Planning a trip to the museum? Try creating a quick scavenger hunt for the child, where they get to present their findings of what they discovered to you later that day. Scheduling a trip to the beach? Collect the seashells together, then weave them into some type of art project, all while researching what types of shells he/she has discovered. Weekly trips to the library are an excellent, easy way to keep the learning spirit alive all summer long.
Tip #5: Let their passions come alive this summer! The months that a child is not in school are an excellent time to allow children to explore their interests. If your child enjoys art while in school, consider signing them up for a summer art course. Raising an athletic child? This season is the perfect time to get them involved in whatever sport they enjoy.