Do you wonder if your kids are prepared for school? Summer is flying by, and I bet it seems like only yesterday you were planning for summer fun. Are you not quite ready to shift into school-year mode? My friend, Teresa Kuleta, is an expert at getting ready for school. She has been teaching for 40 years and sometimes sees little ones who are not so ready to start school. I asked her to give us some tips on how to prepare kids for a fantastic school year. Here is Teresa’s advice:
It seems my whole life has been just two seasons: school and summer! As a kindergarten teacher for 40 years and a single mother of two grown daughters, I have been getting all or some of us ready for school in some form or another for ages. Here are a few ideas you might be able to use and modify for the age and special needs of your child.
The first step in getting ready for school is to read. Fun stuff, I mean! Read as a family. Even if your child is a reader, they may like you to read to them. Do not overlook picture books, easy books, joke books, magazines, inspirational stories, or anything else your family is interested in. Take turns being the reader or just read in the same room. Even ten minutes a day will make a difference and may stretch into more.
If you need some ideas for books to share with your kids, you will find some favorites in Best Books for Young Children.
Try a bit of written work. Many kids enjoy store-bought workbooks or coloring books. Practice math problems (just a few). Older kids can make up problems to stump the mom, but they need to know the answer. There are many online resources to help. A favorite for any age is to make a journal to record how they are feeling as summer ends and school begins. Make it a family journal that sits on the table and anyone can write or draw in.
Transitioning to School Schedule
Begin the bedtime routine a bit earlier each night starting a week or two before the real thing! Of course, that means wake-up time should get earlier too. (At least it won’t be a total shock the morning of the first day of school.) Plan on an easy breakfast with a favorite food on that first day. Most of us can be a little too nervous to eat, so plan on a hearty after-school snack that day!
You will find a few more ideas about making mornings go smoothly in 8 Things to Do to Make Tomorrow a Good Day.
Preparing for School with Supplies
The all-important school shopping will depend on the list your child’s teacher sends out. Many people know a few supplies beforehand, so pay attention to the ads and shop those sales for crayons and markers, etc. A good backpack will help get things to and from school and it can be a reflection of your child’s personality. Tuck a picture of your family (just one) into a small pocket so if a sneak peek will help them feel better, they have it. A new outfit really makes the first few days special. (And by new, I mean new to the child. It’s great to be a championship rummage sale and thrift store shopper!)
Being a Supportive Parent
Show your interest and give your children a boost by attending any open houses and before-school meetings your school offers. If there is a playground, see if you can go and enjoy it a few times before school starts. It is important to be comfortable in the school space.
Lastly, expect everyone to be nervous. It is the start of something new for everyone in the family and for most of the people you will be meeting. Be patient and reassuring. Not only will it get easier, but it should become a new routine and experience that everyone can enjoy for a long time.
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More On Making School Fantastic or Surviving the School Year
Hi, I’m Tamara the creator of Empowered Single Moms, a single mom, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and the author of Thriving a Single Mom’s Guide to a Happy, Positive Life and Thriving a Single Mom Journal. I have a solo private psychotherapy practice where I treat anxiety, depression, and relationship issues.
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