Moving from vacation mode to school mode can be tough on kids and parents. That being said, transitioning from a summer camp to a classroom mindset can be done, albeit delicately
So, how can we get off to a good start this school year? Here are 3 easy tips for making the transition:
Change is always difficult. Think about all the things we need to do to get our kids ready for school: Getting kids back on a stricter bedtime schedule, buying clothing, uniforms and schools. We are busier and more stressed and our kids feel it too. It is helpful if we let our kids know what they should expect in the coming weeks:
“It is going to get busy here while we get ready for school. There will be a lot of errands to do, bed times are going to change and we are going to need a schedule on getting homework done and lunches packed. I just want to let you know so you can be prepared.”
2. Talk about transition time:
We can take it even one step further. Most kids have trouble transitioning from one activity to another, and will balk from any type of change. In this case it can be moving from a summer schedule to a school schedule.
Mary Sheedy Kurcinka in her book, “Raising Your Spirited Child” advises parents to identify transitions for kids and use the word “transition” to describe to your child what is happening. This helps children understand what it is that is so difficult for them.
“School is starting in one week. This week and next week will be transition weeks. This week we will be getting ready for school and it will feel different then summer. When you start school that will be another transition week because we will be getting used to school. “
Even older kids can benefit from learning this type of language, especially if they have trouble with change.
Kurcinka also encourages parents to give children, who have trouble with transitions, words to describe themselves:
You are uncomfortable with change.”
“You like to know what to expect.”
“You like routines and plans.”
Giving kids the language to describe their inner reality is calming and can go a long way in easing any type of transition.
3. Be kind to yourself and your kids:
As we mentioned before getting ready for school can be tricky for parents and kids because most people, yes even adults, have trouble with transitions. Half the battle is recognizing that it might be a difficult and tumultuous time. When you or your kids feel overwhelmed, it might be time to take a break and go for ice cream or turn on the sprinkler. It is still officially summer after all.
Adina Soclof, MS. CCC-SLP, works as a Parent Educator for Bellefaire Jewish Children’s Bureau facilitating How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk workshops as well as workshops based on Siblings Without Rivalry. Adina also runs parentingsimply.com.