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5 Ways to Transition Back to School

by added on 11 September 2018, Comments Off on 5 Ways to Transition Back to School , posted in Blog
By Laura Borner

We are walking hand in hand down to the beach. It’s one of my favorite moments of being a mom. They are thrilled to be heading to the beach. I’m thrilled to have them still young enough to hold my hands. And we get to decide what each day will bring, what new activities we want to do, where we want to go and for how long. On this particular day, one of the last days of summer, we have chosen the beach.

August brought about a bit of cabin fever with hot temperatures, wildfire smoke, or a mix of the two. But September has begun with beautiful blue skies, a wonderful transition to the fall.

Transition.

The word itself can bring about a mix of emotions – excitement, anxiety, or fear. We are taught time and time again, even at preschool, to manage our children’s transitions. Give them a five-minute warning. Notify them what is next before making a change. Ease them into more difficult transitions through storybooks, handholding (literally) and some times, a slow start.

On this last summer day, that feels more like fall than summer, we relish in the spontaneity, grabbing a popsicle from the shop which randomly opened as we walk by. We nixed nap time altogether and traded it for more time to sink our toes into the sand, and just stop and enjoy these moments.

For our family, this is the last year before we make the big transition to kindergarten. This is our last year of having the kids, more or less, at home most of the time. Our last year of not hustling out the door in the morning, thanks to PreK’s pm schedule.

I am looking forward to the start of the school year.
I love having a rhythm. Having some things planned out provides me with a routine…and it is also helpful with remembering what day of the week it is. In the summer I lose track!

Knowing the school year is just days away though, makes me want to rush to live up the end of summer. It also makes me want to rush around to prepare for fall.

For adults, there isn’t someone there to give us that five-minute warning, or hold our hands, or help us through these transitional days. Our child may transition to a new school, and we put a lot of energy into making their transition smooth, but what happens to our schedule? The change of our rhythm?

As I continue this journey with my children, I have learned a few ways to make transitions easier.

1. Get a calendar. I use two, one on my phone and a paper one at home on the wall. It helps me visualize the change. I like to make it fun with different colors to indicate different activities. I draw pictures on the calendar for the kids to recognize (e.g., ballet slippers for dance class, balloons for birthday parties).

2. Schedule in spontaneity. Plan a day or an afternoon where you don’t have plans. So if something comes up at the last minute, you can just do it. When planning routine activities, see if you can block out a day or an afternoon where you don’t have a set schedule. Change it up each week.

3. Shop less and explore more. Why use the last days of summer to do back to school shopping? Send the children off to school and then sort it out. Just because school starts, doesn’t mean you have to have every pair of socks matched, jackets for fall/winter bought and new shoes lined up. Savor the last warm days of the year. Enjoy fall hikes. And squeeze in the shopping late night online, or after school starts. Guess what, the sales will continue, but the sunshine might not. 

4. See yourself as a model. How you deal with the transition is likely how your child will too! Make these transitions as fun as possible.

5. Take advantage of the transitions. These are the absolute best times to change up routines, habits, behaviors or activities that you want to get rid of – or on the other side of the coin – start routines, habits, behaviors or activities that you want to begin implementing. For instance, in the summer, television first thing in the morning could have been okay, but now that school is starting, we are going to nix that. And, well, lets admit that the kids are great at brushing their teeth, but really need to start brushing diligently every morning, not just at night, so guess what, with school starting, that starts too! And on a personal note, because life isn’t just about children, it’s time to pencil in the things that matter for us adults! And plan our own time too. Get your significant other to take your kid/s out for a few hours each week while you can have your own free time. Go for a run, stop into a coffee shop you’ve wanted to check out, or just sit and read that book that’s been collecting dust.

Make these transitions exciting!

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