It’s easy to get used to long, fun summer vacations and hard to make the transition back to school or work. For kids, this transition can be especially tough. While adults enjoy the free time just as much as the kids, they’re used to not having it because work is a year-round obligation. Meanwhile, kids always have the summer off from school, which lasts about two and a half months. It can be challenging for them to go back to sitting in a classroom every day and doing homework after having had complete freedom for that long time. If you anticipate your child having a tough time readjusting to school life after summer vacation, below are six ways to help them get back into the groove.
1. Enjoy the last summer days outside
Early fall still has great weather reminiscent of summer. Take advantage of the last warm days throughout September and spend them outside. This lets your child soak up the last days of the summer season that they yearn to go back to and helps them transition from having complete freedom to almost none. Use the warm weather to do your last seasonal activities for the year, like swimming in the ocean or hiking.
2. Plan something fun on the weekends
It’ll be much easier for your child to get through the school week when they have something to look forward to once it’s over. Start planning small weekend activities to keep your child’s motivation up throughout the week. Apple picking season coincides with the start of school and is an enjoyable activity for kids. You can also schedule play dates, hangouts, or sleepovers for your child and their friends.
3. Make lunch plans
If you typically pack your child a lunch from home, make a meal schedule with them so they know what they get to eat and when. Your child will be able to focus well throughout the school day knowing they have something delicious or comforting in their lunchbox. If your child mostly eats regular school lunch from the cafeteria, keep a copy of the month’s menu at home and mark it down just the same. If there are any days with a lunch your child doesn’t like, note them on the calendar and plan on packing one that day.
4. Practice a daily routine before school starts
Make time to allow you and your child to get back into the routine of getting ready for school. Try a mock wake-up exercise with your child the week before school starts. Get up together at the usual time for school to get them back in the habit of waking up earlier, eating breakfast, and getting dressed—all before the bus arrives. Scheduling bedtimes will help with this transition too.
5. Get them back into homework
Doing homework again is easily one of the worst parts of returning to school after summer vacation. Help your child get ready for this inevitable daily task by introducing a quiet study time every day a week before school starts. During this time, they can read, practice math problems, or complete any other type of academic work. This ritual will make it easier for your child to wind down and focus after each school day for the next nine months.
6. Look for after-school activities
After-school activities are plentiful, from various sports to clubs to music or dance lessons. Find out what your child’s school offers and see if there’s anything they’re interested in taking. There are other places for after-school activities that aren’t just the school. Many areas have town recreation centers offering many classes or activities for children and adults year-round. Be sure your child doesn’t sign on for too many activities or ones that are too intensive for them. An after-school activity is supposed to be fun and should not lead to stress or academic struggle for your child.
These tips will help mentally prepare and excite your child for another year of academic success. Slowly reintroducing them to the classroom structure while keeping fun activities on the horizon will keep your child’s spirits raised for the whole school year.