Going from the relaxed setting of summer to the rule-filled classroom can be challenging for a lot of kids. One day, you’re staying up late and sleeping in, the next, it’s up at the crack of dawn and rushing out the door. Whether your kid is going to school for the first time, or is an elementary veteran, these tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics can help ease the transition from from summer to scholar.
Make the first day easier.
- Remind your child that there are probably a lot of students who are uneasy about the first day of school. Teachers know that students are anxious and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible.
- Point out the positive aspects of starting school: It will be fun! She’ll see old friends and meet new ones. Refresh her positive memories about previous years, when she may have returned home after the first day with high spirits because she had a good time.
- Find another child in the neighborhood with whom your kid can walk to school or ride on the bus.
- If you feel it is appropriate, drive your child (or walk with her) to school and pick her up on the first day.
Choose a safe backpack.
- Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
- Pack light. Organize the backpack to use all of its compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back. The backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s body weight.
- Always use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles.
- If your school allows, consider a rolling backpack. This type of backpack may be a good choice for students who must tote a heavy load. Remember that rolling backpacks still must be carried up stairs, and they may be difficult to roll in snow.
Develop good homework and study habits early.
- Create an environment that is conducive to doing homework. Kids need a permanent workspace in their bedroom or another part of the home that is quiet, without distractions, and promotes study.
- Schedule ample time for homework.
- Establish a household rule that the TV stays off during homework time.
- Supervise computer and Internet use.
- Be available to answer questions and offer assistance, but never do a child’s homework for her.
- Some children need help organizing their homework. Checklists, timers, and parental supervision can help overcome homework problems.