As a new academic year begins, students start school with new goals, opportunities, and challenges. After a few months of vacation, it may be difficult for children to get back into school mode. Here are some ways parents can help their kids transition from summer break into the school routine.

Sleep Schedule

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends school-age children get 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night for optimal health, school performance, and information retention. Move your student’s bedtime up, in 15 minute increments, until the appropriate bedtime is reached. Once you’ve determined the appropriate bedtime for your child, keep strictly on that schedule, even on weekends.

Watch for Signs of Anxiety

The unknown can cause anxiety in anyone, but especially children. Some student angst can be alleviated by accompanying your child to your school’s Open House or Meet-The-Teacher Night. Parents can also talk with their student to discover what is causing them to be anxious. Give your child examples of when they were similarly anxious over a situation that ended happily—like the start of school last year.

Go Shopping

Everyone loves getting new things, and shopping for school supplies can put a positive spin on going back to school. Include your student when buying the supplies they need. There are a lot of school supplies which convey the message that school is fun, so steer kids towards those. Parents, when buying school supplies, buy extras, if possible. Things can get lost and damaged in the course of the school year, and it’s handy, and less stressful for your student, if you have replacements ready.

Get Involved

Parental participation in a child’s education is an indicator of future success. Whether it’s an hour per day or an hour per month, parental involvement can make a difference. Ask your student’s teacher or the school administrators how you can help and what type of contribution would be the most effective.

Do Something Special

Make the start of school something to celebrate. Throw a school-themed party for your child and their friends, take your student on a back-to-school getaway weekend, plan a special breakfast for the first day of school, and document their first day in their new grade by taking a lot of photos.

The first day of a new school year can be emotionally overwhelming for kids. Turning trepidation into enthusiasm requires making returning to school an exciting and fun experience kids will look forward to.

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