Getting ready for school means big changes are coming.  Schedules change, activities transform, and relationships and responsibilities shift.  Let’s take a look at some ways to tackle the upcoming transitions.

First, the schedule will change

During the summer children become used to staying up until dark and sleeping later in the morning so adjusting to the new school schedule often results in a conflict.  Start adjusting the schedule a couple of weeks before school starts.  Every few nights your child should go to bed 15 minutes earlier and wakes up a little earlier in the morning.  Have your children set out their outfits for the next day the night before.  This practice will help children start thinking about organizing for school.

Second, activities will change.

Free play, camps, screen time, and play dates give way to structured lessons, sports, home work, school and social activities, which means a lot to keep track of. Post a family calendar on the wall so everyone in the family can see it and add to it.  Make sure it has large squares to accommodate lots of notes and use it with your children when going over the day ahead.

Third, change the home environment.

Create what many parents refer to as a “launch and landing pad.”  Have one spot in the house where backpacks, lunches, jackets and everything that goes to and comes home from school lands.  This will help you know where homework, dirty lunch boxes, notes from school, etc. are to be found and helps children avoid the last minute search for needed items as they head out the door.  Prepare a specific spot for doing homework that is comfortable and functional with all the needed materials. Even if the special space just involves moving a cute decorated box of materials to the kitchen table, children will feel more motivated and prepared when they have their special supplies and space.

Fourth, prepare a list of contact information for all teachers.

Make sure teachers have all contact information for the family and any important caregivers.  Confirm all schedules, including bus schedules, activities, after school care, etc.

The easier relationships of summer can become stressful as parents expect children to assume more responsibility and independence, so be sure to keep fun in the parent-child relationship.  Reading lots of fun books prior to school starting allows parents to talk about what fun new topics the child will study. Games are also a great way to help children transition from the fun of summer to the fun of school.

Getting ready for school is a big task! For more detailed organizational support, check here.

About the Author

Dr. Toni Linder is a leader in the field of early childhood development and early childhood special education. She works with children of diverse backgrounds and ability levels, including children that are gifted and talented, who have disabilities or come from backgrounds of poverty, and those from multicultural backgrounds.