For the vast majority of elementary school students, first day of school is less than a month away. While it’s tempting to hang on to every last minute of summer, educators and child health care practitioners generally agree that — especially for young children — it’s wise to begin the “back to school” transition at least a few weeks before the big day.
For elementary school-aged kids, consistency and confidence are two key concepts.
Young children thrive when they have a predictable routine they can follow. This includes sleep schedules, the morning ritual, dinner times, study rules and play times. It’s important to establish expectations and then live up to them, with an understanding of what is best for your child.
Sleep and nutrition are the most important considerations in this regard. Now is the ideal time to begin shifting kids’ sleep schedules, so that by the time school is back in session, they are getting up earlier, going to bed earlier and getting adequate rest for their busy days. It’s also a good time to transition meal planning from less-structured summer patterns, so that your child has ample time for a good breakfast, plans have been made for lunches and afternoon snacks, and a process is in place to ensure dinner meals are served at a proper time.
Regardless of the age of your elementary student, he or she will also need assurance and a shot of confidence boosting throughout the school year. It’s important to talk frequently with your child about their experiences, daily highlights and concerns. A well-timed hug or in-depth conversation can work wonders.
One final note – at the outset and throughout the school year, build strong relationships with your child’s teachers. She or he will often be best able to assess how well your child is adjusting to this new school year and their latest stage of life. With very, very few exceptions, your teachers will share your passion and interest in your child’s well-being and become a valuable member of your child-raising team. Don’t overlook them!
Next week, we’ll advance to middle school and share some tips on how best to get ready for this formative stage of your child’s schooling.