Five Ways to Make Back to School Easier for Everyone
Heading back to school is exciting. It’s also a big change of pace. Gone are the relaxing and flexible days of summer vacation. They’re being replaced with days of packing lunches, catching the bus, checking schedules and finishing homework assignments.
Parents can help smooth the transition from summer to school year for both their children and themselves. Try these easy steps now to make those first weeks back less stressful for everyone.
1. Be an explorer
Visiting your school to navigate where to go on the first day can do a lot to help your child feel confident about starting classes. If your school hosts an open house, you and your child can check out the new classroom together. Older kids might even enjoy showing you around school as they find their way. Or if they’re attending a brand new school, you can explore it together. Even if there’s no open house, you can walk or drive by the school with your child and talk about where they’ll go on that first day.
2. Check out the teacher
One of a child’s biggest worries is “will I like my teacher?” Your school’s open house is also a great time for your child and you to meet their teacher. When you can’t make an open house, you can still help your child learn more about their teacher before school begins. School websites and yearbooks may have photos of this year’s teacher. You can also talk with others in your neighborhood who may have had that same teacher in recent years.
3. Get the tools you need
Find your child’s school supply list and consider planning a special shopping trip. Even if you only want to buy a few basics to get started, this activity with your children helps them think about the work they’ll be doing. They’ll get excited about how they might use their new school tools. You might also let them choose one or two fun items - a cool notebook or a special pencil or pen - something simple that will make your child smile. Check out these Future Scholar tips for stretching your back-to-school shopping dollars.
4. Talk don’t teach
Rather than drill kids on last year’s lessons in preparation for what’s ahead, experts suggest you let your child enjoy the last weeks of summer. Reviewing schoolwork can actually cause your child to feel more stressed about returning - rather than feeling more prepared. Instead, talk about school in general terms. Start casual conversations about who they’re excited to see when school resumes or what they’re looking forward to doing. Open the door for children to share their worries, so you can talk them through.
5. Slide into new routines
Lessen the shock of returning to all your school routines by easing into them—a practice that’s especially helpful with younger children. A few days before school begins, for example, set the alarm, get up, get dressed, and get in the car or to the bus stop on time. This is also a great way to help children identify and solve problems. Should they put out their clothes the night before? Pack their backpack before going to bed? When children take part in solving problems, they’ll be better prepared to stick with the plan.
Make time for college savings, too
Of course, back to school is also a good time to check in on your college savings. While you’re starting new routines, maybe you’d also like to set up automatic contributions.
Or you can invite relatives to give the gift of college savings as a way to celebrate the start of the school year. As always, Future Scholar makes it easy for you to open an account, manage your plan and use eGift to make it easy for others to help your child reach his or her college savings goals.