By Holly Tuttle, Kiddie Kare A’Kadamie owner
Since Kiddie Kare first opened it’s doors in 1991, I have always looked forward to the start of a new school year. It’s that time of year again when long summer nights fade, long dips in the pool are ending, s’mores have all been eaten, and school is now upon us. I love summer… but I also love school and the cool weather!
Going back to school or starting school for the first time always brings with it a wide range of emotions, and if you find that your child is having adjustment issues, don’t be surprised. Flipping from an extended time at home to an extended time in another space does require adjustment. Here are five ways to help encourage and prepare your child:
Pray for your child as he/she enters back into school. Pray for your child to make healthy connections with his/her teacher and friends. Pray for wisdom and strength. Pray also with your child, particularly about the coming school year. Not only is prayer a wonderful way to help prepare your child, but it also helps center you on what is most important… God!
I’m fascinated with how sleep affects our health. Making sure your child gets enough rest is important. During the first few weeks of school, children tend to get worn out easily. Help your child adjust to the new routine with plenty of rest! Simplifying your schedule during the last couple weeks of summer and the first few weeks of school may also help (not that this is always possible with extracurricular activities, but a great reminder none the less!).
Structure and order can greatly diminish stress in a child. Predictable routines such as bed time, evening quiet time, family dinner, and even structured chores will bring security and comfort to most children. But be sure to remember that being predictable doesn’t mean being inflexible.
Preparing as much as you can the night before is also helpful! Packing lunches and backpacks, putting out clothes and shoes to wear, and making sure your car has gas. All of these things can help make for a smooth transition to school in the morning. However, also be sure to give your kids grace, as well as yourself. Sometimes this is all part of learning how to get out the door together. In a sense you are all learning how to work together as a team. An extra 5 minute head start in the morning can make a Huge Difference.
Connect with other families in your child’s grade level. Help your child to make connections with other classmates by discussing ahead of time how you make a new friend or reconnect with old friends. At the dinner table, ask your child about how he/she will make a new friend. As parents we can make assumptions that this is an automatic thing, but it often takes some guidance from you as the parent. In addition to connecting with other families and children, be sure to also be connecting directly with your child. For example, put an encouraging note in your child’s lunch box or car seat, saying something like, “You are going to have a great day!” And finally, don’t forget about reaching out to connect with your child’s teacher! I like to email our children’s teachers to tell them how we are excited we are for this year and also how we are praying for them!
Enjoy your year! It is going to be a great one!