I used to be a teacher. People are always surprised to hear that but I taught for 5 years until I changed careers to wardrobe styling. The one thing I remember was how hard the transition from summer to school was for some kids. They were tired, scared, as if they were plucked overnight from watching their favorite show on tv and made to sit in a desk for hours on end. Sadly for some, this change did happen overnight with little prep and discussion. Kids need time to adjust, just like adults. I think sometimes we forget they are little humans with lots of feelings but without the tools to communicate. There was a lot of anxiety and confusion those first few weeks but with a few tools, you and your babies can turn those feelings into more positive ones. To help your family prepare, we’ve made a list of tips to help ease those back to school blues. Photography by Paige Newton
1. Ease back into routines.
Give them a head start on routines. Growing up, we used to have quiet time every day. It was reminiscent of school in that we had to choose a quiet activity (if we no longer napped) but it kept us reading, doing puzzles, creating art. Set a timer and keep them accountable for the activity when they’re done by asking them questions. If you’re kids are older, it’s always a good idea to make them read for at least 30 minutes a day.
2. Make Visual Aides
As you ease back into a schedule, make it visual so they know what’s coming next. Dinner, check. Bath, check. Books, check. Lights out, check. I would start this at least a few weeks before school starts.
3. Involve Them In School Supply Purchases
Get them excited for school by picking out a new backpack, school supplies, making a small gift for their teacher, etc. Have the backpack hanging by the door so it can serve as a reminder for all the fun (!) that’s to come when they go back to school.
4. Build Independence
Have they become completely dependent on you during the summer? It happens but it’s never too early to start reminding them they can do so many things themselves. Pick out their clothes the night before, help pack their lunch, clean up their toys at the end of the day. My two year old helps with these things so age should not be an issue.
5. Encourage them to share their feelings.
Talk about school. They might be anxious about leaving you or the freedom they have during summer. They might be nervous about making friends. Seek out neighborhood friends for playdates, check out books from the library about going back to school, reassure them they will be okay.
6. Allow them time to adjust.
Expect for your babies to be tired the first couple of weeks back to school. They will be overstimulated and tired from a long day’s work. Give them time to settle when back at home while encouraging them to tell you about their day. Although and end of the first week pizza party may sound fun, you know your kid best and maybe they could benefit from decompressing at home for the first weekend with just the family.
7. Stay Active!
Remind them that summer ending doesn’t mean the fun is ending. You will still go on family adventures, swim, play outside, do all the things they love to do. School is a fun time for them to reconnect with friends, learn and grow. If you have anxiety about them returning to school, manage it the best you can so that they can be confident returning to school.