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Is it just us, or does summer seem to be getting shorter every year?
By the time we’ve finally remembered to pack the sunscreen, it feels like we’re already late for back-to-school shopping, and then - before you can say “grab your backpack” - it’s time for older siblings to head back to school.
The back to school switch is one of the biggest adjustments your little ones will face in their first ten years, which is why it’s worth it to do everything you can to help reduce stress for everyone and make the transition to a new routine as smooth as it can possibly be.
Here are six of our favorite tips for helping make sure your first week back to school is a stress-free success:
- Start preparing early. The first week of school can be a lot of adjustment for kids, so making small changes ahead of time can help keep things a bit more level. A few weeks before school begins, work on getting the whole family back into a regular sleep schedule. Practice packing lunches, completing the morning routine, and handle whatever shopping trips are needed to make sure your child has everything they need for school.
- Talk to your kids, both the school age siblings and any toddlers staying home, about their expectations. Ask older siblings what they are most excited about, what they think their new teacher might be like, and if they have any worries or concerns. Help younger siblings understand what their big siblings will be doing while they are away from home, ask what special things they’d like to do while they’re gone, and invite them to participate in small ways, like using the Toddler Tower to help prepare lunches or developing a special goodbye tradition for drop offs.
- Make a back-to-school routine, and make sure you practice it together as a family. It’s easier to get in the groove of a new rhythm without the pressure and nerves of the real back-to-school day involved. Declare the week before school starts a Practice Week, and help everyone adjust to the new routine by getting up early, eating breakfast, packing a lunch, and getting dressed, and out the door. To make practice fun, you can add a family favorite treat as a reward when you leave the house, like a trip to the park or even just a run through your local coffee shop for treats.
- Pack a stress-reducing lunch. A well-rounded lunch that’s both nutritious and familiar will help your child stay energized throughout the day. This isn’t the time to try new foods. Instead, make sure to include your child’s standby favorite fruits, vegetables, and snacks to help them feel secure in a new environment. Like we mentioned above, lunch packing is a great way to involve younger siblings - use the Toddler Tower to give them a boost, and let them add a little extra love to the lunchbox!
- Create a plan to keep mornings positive. It's important to send your child to school in the most relaxed, cheerful mood possible, but it’s also easy for everyone to get stressed, short, and overwhelmed in the rush to leave the house. Plan ahead and prepare some moments of silliness and joy to help reduce the tension, like a quick dance party before you brush your teeth, or a sing-along to a favorite song on the drive to school.
- Take time to connect and rest after school. Both older siblings and their pre-school little sibs are navigating a ton of change during this first week of school. Plan to have nightly check-ins - we’d recommend right after dinner or before bed so kids have a little time to process and rest after school ends. During your check-ins, make sure they know you’re here to answer questions, offer support, and help them through any challenges they may face. Make sure to ask and listen more than you advise and speak - it’s the simplest way to find out what your kids are really thinking or worrying about.
The end of summer is a really big change, but with a little planning and a lot of love, it can also be a really GOOD change.
We’re wishing you and your family all of the best as you send big kids off to school and help your little ones adjust to their absence at home!What are your favorite tips for a stress-free return to school? Share them with us on Instagram @dadadababyusa