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2019 Aug

Smooth Transition Back to School

It’s time to start prepping for the school year.

Hard to believe it’s back-to-school time already. Feels like summer just started. Luckily, you and your kids have another month to enjoy the lazy days of summer, just enough time to squeeze in a few more beach outings and family cookouts. Then it’s time to start prepping for the school year and getting your kids ready for a more structured routine.

Here are a few tips for making a smooth transition from a great summer to a magical school year:

Talk to your kids about what they hope the new school year will bring. Ask them what goals they have for the new year. Maybe they want to improve their reading skills or do better in math. If your child is in middle school or high school, talk about what clubs and organizations he or she might wish to join. Check your school’s website for a list if ideas.

Play school. With younger kids, playing school can be a fine way to get back in the groove. I remember when I was around 9 or 10, my favorite thing to do was play school. My BFF and I would take turns being the teacher, and we’d pack our lessons with fun, creative ways to learn. The best part? No tests!

Begin getting your kids used to the school year schedule. That means waking up earlier and going to bed earlier. Limit your child’s access to electronic devices, like TV and cell phones, in the evening. These can interfere with getting a good night’s sleep.

Take stock of the closet. Now’s a good time to weed out clothes your child has outgrown and think about what clothing items you need to purchase for the new school year. It’s also a good time to discuss dress codes and what kind of clothing is appropriate to wear to school.

If your children bring their lunch to school, discuss healthy foods that they’d like to pack in their lunchboxes. If you have a picky eater, take the time now to plan lunches he or she will like. Maybe try some new recipes and experiment with creative combinations. In addition to a sandwich, raw veggies and fruit should be part of your child’s healthy lunch.

Visit the library and check out a few books, so your child can jumpstart his or her cognitive skills. Don’t forget to look for non-fiction books for kids. You’ll find exciting books about other countries and cultures, science, and animals.

Writing skills are super important, so spend some time writing old-fashioned letters to relatives or friends who have moved away. Ask your children to write about what they want to be when they grow up or an essay about their lives so far. Here’s an idea: a report on what they did on their summer vacation!

But don’t forget the fun. There’s still time to go for a hike, attend a festival, visit museums, see a movie, get wet in a waterpark, ride a rollercoaster, and plan a family getaway to Williamsburg or the Outer Banks. Life is all about experiences. Kids learn by doing, so make sure you fit in some enriching fun before the school year rolls around. Good luck and stay safe.

Peggy Sijswerda

Peggy Sijswerda is the editor and co-publisher of Tidewater Family and Tidewater Women magazines. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Old Dominion University and is the author of Still Life with Sierra, a travel memoir. Peggy also freelances for a variety of regional, national, and international magazines.

Website: www.peggysijswerda.com

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