Activ8 Academy Featured in Port Streets Living MagazineFebruary 26, 2021
With August soon approaching it feels like summer is in full swing. Back-to-school may be the last thing on your mind, but it’s never too early to create a plan and put the wheels in motion. Whether your child resumed in-person instruction or remained remote learners, we have compiled some tips on how to create routines and start-up conversations so the transition back is as smooth as possible.
- Ease Into a School-Based Sleep Schedule – If your little ones have been staying up past their school year bedtimes, have them go to bed 10-15min earlier each night until they are back on their normal routine. A slow change in sleeping patterns is easier for the body to adjust to over time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children ages 6-12 should sleep 9-12 hours per night and children 13-18 should be getting 8-10 hours per night to promote optimal health.
- Create a Structured Morning Routine – Write out the morning to-do list and post it in a place that is clearly visible. You can even laminate the list and have your child check off the to-dos with dry erase markers as they go along. This helps them remember what needs to be done and replaces the need for you to remind (i.e., nag) them every 5 minutes. A win-win for everyone!
- Plan Out Lunches in Advance – Set aside time on the weekend to prepare snacks and meals for the week. Even prepping 5 snack bags of carrots or pretzels will save time in the morning so you don’t feel as rushed. You can even incorporate your little helpers into the routine and have them assemble their own lunches once you have everything laid out on the counter.
- Coordinate the Family Calendar – On a large calendar, plan out the whole families’ activities; from what time school gets out to who has soccer practice and even what time the parents will get home from work. This way everyone is aware of what is happening on a daily basis. Children thrive on predictability –and this is especially true for children with special needs – so using this tool will help your child understand their expectations, reduce anxieties and avoid confusion.
- Design a School Launch Pad – It’s time to dust off those design centers and put on your engineer thinking caps, it’s time to create your very own school launch pad! Make a station that is located next to the front door (or at least close by) with cubbies, hooks, signs and decorations so everyone’s backpacks, shoes, calendar, gear and keys can be kept in one convenient location. No one will be running late because they can’t find their shoes in your house!
- Nurture Independence – Any child who is self-sufficient – who can tie their own shoes or get dressed on their own – develops confidence and a sense of accomplishment. This in turn will foster happier children who have gained a sense of independence. It may take longer in the beginning to teach them how to do these tasks, but focus on the long-term goal. Once you don’t have to put on three pairs of shoes in the morning, the sooner you will have more free time for your own self-care.
- Talk to Your Children– According to recent CDC guidelines, all grades K-12 will be required to wear masks at school and many schools may still require a staggered schedule for daily arrivals, lunches and dismissals. Explain to your child what their new schedule will look like to help curb fears and anxieties. The more prepared and front-loaded they are for a possible outcome, the better equipped they are to understand what is happening and react in the appropriate manner. For example, if your child is upset because the new daily schedule does not allow your child to have the same lunch time as some of their friends, talk to your child about how this makes them feel, acknowledge that those feeling are normal, and offer solutions of what to do next. Using this example, suggest that your child try to make new friends during their lunch time and organize after school play dates with the friends they don’t get to see.
- Visit The School – Plan an afternoon to walk the campus grounds so your child can find their class and get a sense of where they need to go in the morning. Find out if your school is hosting a “Meet the Teacher” event either in-person or virtually. Any interaction your child can have with the school staff or administration will raise your child’s comfort levels being in an unfamiliar space. Remember, for some children it has been over a year since they have been on school grounds, the school could feel like an entirely new place.
- Do a Practice Run – Set the alarm one Saturday or Sunday and practice as a family the whole morning routine – from getting up at the desire time to getting dressed and eating breakfast – act out the whole routine so it feels familiar on “the big day”.
- Freshen Up on Academics– Research shows that on average most children lose up to one month of learning over summer break. Get your child re-acquainted with in-person instruction and freshen up their reading, writing and math skills with a one-one-one tutoring session from Activ8 Learning Center.