The summer is quickly coming to an end, and with that comes the inevitable start of the next school year for your children. For many parents, the start of the school year is a much-needed break after having just spent the better part of two months being around-the-clock social planners for their children. With September comes some added responsibility for separated or divorced parents as the transition into a regular school routine can sometimes be challenging – especially if the separation or divorce happened during the summer holidays. In order to help ensure your children have a smooth transition back to school, here is a helpful list of ideas to guide you in the closing weeks of summer.
Tip 1: Include Plenty of Routine
At least about two weeks before school starts, it generally is a good idea to get your children back into the flow of a normal school schedule and routine. This would include the re-establishment of school appropriate bed and wake-up times, including shower/bath times. In the event that these have become lax over the summer, more regularly scheduled meals, as the ending of the snacking that occurs the throughout the day, can sometimes be a hallmark of summer vacation for children, can be important as snacking becomes less available during the school days.
Tip 2: Create Study Time Before they go Back to School
Before school starts, it can be helpful to designate an hour or two per day for your children during which they would read, write or otherwise do age-appropriate mental exercises or school-related work that will help get their minds moving again. After taking a few months away from the regular rigors of the school year, sometimes the brain can atrophy so the more a child can get back into the routine of active thought and learning before school starts, the easier the transition back to school can be.
Tip 3: Ensure That Your Kids Get out of the House
It’s easy to forget that your children may be sitting much of the day when school starts – so while they still have an opportunity to play outside, it’s important to ensure they get plenty of physical activity. A child’s physical health is just as important as their mental health – in fact, exercise has been shown to help reduce depression and anxiety – so it’s always good to have your child engaged in physical activities on a daily basis. If your child doesn’t like team sports, find something they do like and sign them up for lessons after school and on weekends.
Tip 4: Meet with Teachers and Get Familiar with the School
In order to ensure your child’s comfort level regarding your divorce and back to school, it’s very important to take advantage of the meet-the-teacher and open-house events that the schools will offer prior to the start of the school year. By going to the school, walking the campus and meeting the teachers, your child will have the opportunity to examine their surroundings, their new classrooms and teachers, and that can help to alleviate any apprehension young children may have towards going back to school.
Tip 5: Have Fun with Your Kids Before they go Back to School
Before they go back to school, it’s always fun to plan one last family event that would otherwise be difficult to accomplish once the school year starts. Whether that is going to a theme park, the beach or a day-time movie, the summer should still represent a care-free time for most children, so take advantage of the time you do have with your children while they have these summer vacations to share with you.