The Back-to-School Blues: 4 Ways to Adjust to the First Day
Kids are reluctantly getting ready to go back to school at the end of August. Some parents are sad to see their little ones go back to class while others are relieved to have a little bit more peace and quiet during the day. At this point, younger students have gotten used to playing outside, swimming lessons, soccer matches, or watching their favorite cartoons on their tablet. Going back to school from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm every day can be a pretty big adjustment especially for kids who didn’t spend any time in summer school or an academic camp setting. So, how can kids (and their parents) beat the back-to-school blues and adjust to the first few days?
1. Start the adjustment early
Kids who have gotten completely out of routine can start the adjustment before the first day of school to get used to sitting still for long periods on day one. Parents can initiate this change in many ways. For instance, parents can introduce a reading hour from 2 pm to 3 pm every afternoon or review math facts with their kids for 30 minutes after lunch. Working at a specific time of day or maintaining a specific routine helps kids transition to going back to school because it smoothes the otherwise extreme transition from relaxation time to learning (READ: “Costa Mesa Tutor Tips: 4 Reasons to Multitask While Studying).
2. Reset bedtime
Older kids may have gotten used to staying up later than normal during their summer vacation. It can be fun to have a break from routine, but it can also be difficult to take on the day without enough sleep. It’s a great idea for kids to reset their bedtime schedule about 30 minutes each week so they get used to going to bed on time and can get up bright and early with lots of energy. If kids are struggling to fall asleep, it helps to take away electronic devices after dinner, which keeps kids’ brains awake. These items can be replaced with a good old-fashioned paper book that kids can read in bed or their room. Kids with insomnia can also benefit from eating dinner earlier and avoiding after meal snacks, so they’re tired in time for bed (READ: Social Networking as a Freshman: 5 Do’s and Don’ts).
3. Meet new friends
If possible, kids can adjust to the transition back to school more easily if they can associate it with a positive social situation. If kids have a chance to hang out with some of their school friends in the neighborhood during the week or two leading up to school, they are more likely to feel comfortable in their classroom environment. If parents know what teacher their kid will have this year, they can ask other parents and see who has been assigned to the same class. Kids who are in a familiar social environment tend to be able to concentrate more because they are less worried about whether or not they’ll have someone friendly to talk to during lunch and recess.
4. Extracurricular activities
One reason kids don’t like to go back to school in the fall is that they’re missing out on fun extracurricular activities that occur during summer. However, if kids have a chance to continue these activities throughout the academic year, they will be more likely to enjoy school all around. For example, if a student loved the arts and crafts portion of their summer camp they can sign up for an art class once a week after school. Or, if they loved playing baseball in the summer league they can sign up for the youth baseball team in the fall. Extracurricular activities help create a well-rounded education and keeps kids’ spirits high throughout the year.
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