How to use a calendar to help transition back to school?
Summer holidays can be the carefree, fun-packed time of experience and shared experiences which neither kids nor mums and dads want to end. It can be very appealing (and rightly so!) to make the most of every day of the school vacation, especially the days which directly precede the back to school date on your calendar.
Keep in mind however, to also do some preparation so that the shift back to school can be a smooth, confident one for both you and your kids.
What are the triggers that can potentially cause challenges for your kids when they are faced with returning to school?
How can the transition back to school be difficult for you and your kids?
- Feeling rushed – you've had a great summer and then suddenly the holidays are over and it's time to return to school
- Disorganised – those last few days go SO quickly!
- Morning routine is difficult to return into
- Difficulty in getting out of bed/out of your home on time
- Mums and dads are nervous about the kids being okay
- Kids can be distressed about:
- What will my new teacher be like?
- Will my new schoolmates like me?
- Will I be able to sit with my friends?
- Who will I sit with at lunch?
- What if I miss the school bus?
- Will people make fun of me?
- What if I don't understand the lessons?
- Will I look foolish?
How, as mums and dads, can we minimize these triggers for our kids and facilitate a smooth shift back to school?
Using a Calendar to Help Transition Back to School
Everybody, parents and children alike, prosper on routine and this holds specifically true when, as a household, we are confronted with the prospect of going back to school.
It is very important to take a look at methods of decreasing stress and anxiety around that date and finding a way to make going back to school an exciting, organised and positive experience.
Using a Timeline/Calendar
- Make a timeline together or go shopping and choose a big calendar that you both like.
- Calendars are often offered for the scholastic year and these can be perfect to prepare all of the household for getting back into the swing of school life.
- A timeline can be a great tool in helping all of the household lower any school stress and anxiety that they may have.
- All kids like to be involved in choices that effect them and their households.
- Make a timeline that covers the last 2 weeks prior to school starts and the following 2 weeks when school has started.
- For the last 2 weeks of the holidays, factor in treats and rewards as well as challenges which the household will need to attain to receive the treat or reward. For example, all of the household should get up 10 minutes earlier every day for the first week of your timeline to be able to enjoy the daily rewards that have been planned.
- Plan these joint challenges so that they assist your kids (and you!) to cope and get used to the early morning regimen once again or leaving your house on time each day.
- For the first 2 weeks of school, factor in after school activities, activities at the weekend and decide in advance who will choose your kids up from school each day.
- This visual structure, which you can display somewhere for you all to see, will provide a more mild re-introduction of the back to school regimen than if you all of a sudden panic on the night before school and try to arrange yourself and your kids out!
- If you leave tasks to the eleventh hour you are producing stress and anxiety in children and yourselves – which is a dish for disaster on the first day back and will take days or perhaps weeks to pull back.
Agree on a Morning Routine to Help Transition Back to School
- A visual timetable can be invaluable for lowering anxiety and enabling your kids to efficiently shift from vacation to school time.
- Visual timetables are typically utilized in school, so prior to completion of the academic year, find out from them what sort of symbols, words, images they use daily.
- Utilizing familiar visual hints in your home can increase self-confidence in your kids and this will likewise spill over into minimizing any school anxiety they might have.
- If it's possible, this is an excellent activity to include your kids in well prior to the stressors of imminent school, you can develop and create an early morning schedule together.
- You can make this activity enjoyable by utilizing timers to find out how long it requires to get on a school uniform or make a jam-packed lunch or pack a swimming bag.
- When you have actually exercised the timings of activities that you require to consist of in your early morning schedule, then you can add those timings into it and find out what time you will all need to get up to be ready to leave your house at a set time.
- Enabling kids to take ownership of their early morning schedule by working it out with you is an excellent method to increase their feeling of responsibility, whilst lowering anxiety at the exact same time.
Have family ‘Golden Time' to Help Transition Back to School
Your kids may well be familiar with ‘Golden Time', which often happens in schools on a Friday afternoon. The offer at school is if the kids have actually got their stickers/rewards for the week, then during Golden Time they get to choose their preferred activity.
All of us like to feel special and have quality, one-to-one time with the people we like. Add into your calendar a daily Golden Check-In Time at home with your kid. (You could have two of these if it works, one in the early morning and one in the evening).
Plan a 10-30 minute time with your young person and include it in the calendar.
Make this time unique and pick together what you want to do throughout this time, examples could be:
- Make and share hot chocolate with marshmallows and relax on the couch together (NO smart phones, NO disturbances!).
- Share a video game, take your pet dog for a walk, go outdoors and construct a cubby house / go to beach.
- Have a pamper session – a manicure, pedicure, facial – whatever you both enjoy!
- Construct a design together, paint together.
- The possibilities are unlimited!
- The most IMPORTANT thing to remember is that while you are taking pleasure in each others' company, you also chat about how your child is feeling, ensuring they are okay, that school is okay and they are mentally in an ok place.
In general, with some thoughts and early preparation, the trauma of going back to school can be handled efficiently and in a positive way. Taking a little bit of time to put some strategies into practice can positively affect your child and your whole family too.