Tuesday Tip: Get Your Children Back into School-Mode
By Yehudit Garmaise
While running, biking, swimming, and playing outside until the sun goes down, and then staying up late provides days and nights of summer fun, how do we slowly get children back into “school-mode” as the first day of school nears?
As schedules likely flew out the window for the past three months, now is the time to create new routines.
1. Start to get your children back on a sleep schedule that works for school. Start enforcing bedtimes that are appropriate for the fall zman.
According to the American Association of Pediatrics, school-aged children need the following amounts of sleep:
3 to 5-year-olds: 10 to 13 hours (including naps)
6 to 12-year-olds: 9 to 12 hours
13 to 18-year-olds: 8 to 10 hours
2. Start to ensure that family mealtimes are set at the times best for when school is in session. Stock your kitchen with cereal, instant oatmeal, hot chocolate, frozen waffles, and eggs that can be quickly made and eaten in the morning before kids head for their buses.
3. Ask your children to look through their closets and drawers with you to assess what needs to be replaced. Give away or store outgrown pieces of clothing that are in good shape, and make a list of everything your children will need: clothing, uniforms, shoes, tights, socks, tzitzis, and hats. Don’t forget that kids will likely need new backpacks and lunchboxes for a great new start to the school year.
4. If teachers sent lists home of required school supplies, head to a local store and get everything your children will need to succeed in the classroom.
5. Make sure to buy all the books and seforim your children need this year. Add a book to read to your children or for older kids to read before bed.
6. With the camp over and school not yet started, now is the perfect time to schedule haircuts, doctor and dentist appointments.
7. Looking ahead to homework, now is a great time to consider ideal workspaces where your children can best concentrate and complete their work. If possible, each child should have a dedicated workspace, such as a cleared-off table or small desk at which they can sit and do their homework without distractions.
8. Talk with your children about their homework schedules. What usually works is welcoming your children home with snacks or a nutritious dinner, letting them relax and decompress, and then reinforcing the routine for children to hit the books every weeknight at a set time.
9. Talk with your children, who might be anxious or fearful, about their feelings about the upcoming year. Instill in your children your confidence, love, and belief in them. Ask them what they are most excited to learn and do this year. Maybe share your memories of the grades your children are starting, and then ask them whether they have a goal or two for the year ahead.
10. Encourage your children to smile, be friendly, be mevater, and let things go when their friends do things that might bother them. Of course, remind your children to always be helpful and respectful to their teachers. During the first week especially, place little notes in lunch boxes or backpacks so your children are reminded that you are always thinking of them with love and affection and cheering for them.