How do I help my child adjust from summer to school schedule?
After a summer filled with fun in the sun, getting your child in “back-to-school mode” can be challenging. A little preparation can help both children and parents transition to the school year schedule more easily.
Here are some practical tips for helping your child prepare for the start of a new school year:
Reset the internal clocks
Summer schedules often allow for sleeping in, whereas the school schedule requires early mornings. Give your child at least two weeks to adjust to a new sleep schedule before schools. Beginning two weeks before the first day of school, move up bedtime and wake-time by 15 to 30 minutes each day until your child is back to the school sleep routine. This allows your child’s internal clock to gradually prepare for the early morning routine while ensuring he gets enough sleep each night.
Research shows children who use electronics as a calming night-time routine get fewer hours of sleep per week and experience daytime sleepiness. Restricting your child’s screen time, especially in the two hours before bed, will help her get a full night's sleep. Try replacing the screen with a book. Reading with your child is not only a great bonding activity, but significantly improves her language skills and helps her to relax before bedtime.
A darkened atmosphere promotes healthy sleep
Children are sensitive to light, causing their bodies to stay alert even when it’s time to wind down. Darkening the room will help your child to sleep through the night. While preparing for bedtime, try dimming the lights. Using dark shades can help with summer morning and evening light. If your child likes to sleep with a night light, make it as dim as possible. Encourage children to use night lights instead of overhead lights for evening and night time potty trips.
Prepare outfits ahead of time
Pull out your child’s favorite souvenir shirt from the summer, or let him pick out his favorite outfit for his first day back at school. Allowing children to choose their outfit will help them to feel in control and confident.
Calm anxieties about the first day
Talk to your child about her worries, like meeting new people and making friends. Let her know you’ll be there for her. Sometimes children just need a little reassurance. Sometimes it is beneficial for parents to be home afterschool for the first week. If that’s not possible for your family, we recommend being home in the evenings for support instead of calling a sitter.
Keep summer hobbies alive with afterschool programs
Afterschool programs and activities are great ways for your child to meet new friends and develop social and teamwork skills. Did your child acquire a new hobby over the summer or develop a special interest in swimming or gymnastics? Support your child’s passions by enrolling him in an afterschool program during the school year.
Visit abcquality.org to learn more about child care and development and learn about the state’s voluntary quality rating system. ABC Quality is administered by the SC Department of Social Services’ Division of Early Care and Education.
By ABC Quality Team at 8 Aug 2017, 11:00 AM