Across the country, August can be a time of transition and stress. Starting the school year is a change for the whole family. Here are some tips to share with the families in your summer programs to help them prepare for these changes.
- Establish a good sleep schedule for the whole family starting a few weeks before school. Eight hours or more of sleep is one of the best resources parents can give children to be successful at school. Decide when your family needs to get up for a positive morning routine and practice it, even before school starts.
- Practice your school day routine. Before summer ends, begin to practice the morning routine of getting up early, having a healthy breakfast and preparing for school. If possible, take a couple trial runs of going to school so children are familiar with the new routine. When you get there, take time to play on the playground or walk around the school. Keep it positive. If you don’t have time to trial run in the morning, do it in the evening.
- Make getting school supplies fun. If you are worried about back to school expenses, look for community outreach programs that provide school supplies for low-income students. If possible, encourage youth child to pick out something fun, like markers to use at home, a cute pencil case or new backpack can make it more fun to go back to school.
- Build a positive relationship with your child’s teachers. Remember teachers truly care about children and want them to be successful. Establishing good communication with teachers will benefit your child. Be honest and be prepared to listen and work with teachers if your child is having problems in the classroom or at home. Take advantage of opportunities like conferences and parents organizations to get to know your child’s school teachers. Be as involved as you can.
Summer programs can make going back to school easier.
Here are some other ideas you can use in your program to help families prepare for the transition back to a regular school schedule.
- Throughout the summer, include reading and fun STEM activities in your program to help children keep their skills sharp. Remember reading and math are the most important skills to exercise over the summer.
- If the families in your program have trouble finding school supplies, consider having a back to school fair where children can win school supplies playing games like Bingo, ring/ball toss, duck pond, etc.
- Invite teachers to stop by the summer program and meet the children who will be in their classroom. It is never too early to start building positive relationships between families, teachers, and your program.
- Don’t forget to use back to school programs and open-houses as times to reach out to new families and tell them about your program. It is important to keep you program connected to the school(s) you serve. Keep building strong relationships.