For many kids, the lazy days of summer end too quickly. It's normal for them to experience a range of emotions about going back to school, including nervousness, dread, fear and excitement. By involving them in back-to-school preparations and by celebrating the beginning of the school year, parents can help ease children's minds and get them excited about school.
Here are some ways to make the start of school a fun time:
- Celebrate the beginning of school: To help ring in the school year, throw a back-to-school bash for your kids, such as a special trip to a local attraction, a pool or pizza party, a backyard campout, or a dinner out with mom and dad. The party will signal the end of summer and the beginning of another exciting school year.
- Let kids select their school supplies: Children love to make choices. By choosing their own school supplies, they will feel more involved and excited about the school year.
- Keep it under wraps: Some parents order school backpacks or lunchboxes ahead of time and then wrap them as gifts that kids can open the day before school starts. This lends a "magical" touch to getting school supplies.
- Create a homework center: Let kids help set up a homework center in the house. The area should be free from distractions like television and video games. Stock the homework center with all the supplies they'll need and let them help decorate the area. By making it their own special place, they'll be motivated to spend time there.
- Give it a name: Let kids help design personalized labels for their notebooks, binders and schoolbooks, or help them create covers for their schoolbooks.
- Write them a note: Before school starts, write notes or jokes for your kids on napkins or Post-It notes. A couple of times a week, slip one of the notes into your child's lunchbox before school to surprise them at lunchtime.
- Bake a special treat: The week before school starts, bake and then freeze your kids' favorite blueberry muffins or a batch of banana bread (older children can do the baking with you). Having a special treat on the first day of school will start your kids off on the right foot.
- Set up a dumping ground: Before school starts, set up an area for children to store their backpacks and papers. A hanging file folder for school papers and a hook near the front or back door for jackets and backpacks will help kids stay organized when they arrive home each day—and will keep you from missing seeing important papers sent home from school.
- Have a bus-stop breakfast: Coordinate with parents ahead of time for a group breakfast at the bus stop on the first day of school. Quick, easy-to-carry treats include bananas, muffins, portable yogurt, trail mix (don't include nuts due to possible allergic reactions), and bottles of water.