School supplies, new shoes, maybe a new backpack too. These things are important but this post about being prepared for school is about being prepared on the inside. As a paid Quaker For Classrooms Ambassador I have been sharing ways to get your kids ready for school as well as my own teacher appreciation story. My own children go back next week and these are my tried and true steps to making sure they are ready on the inside for the first day of school.
1. Everything is easier with a good night’s sleep.
A good night’s sleep is imperative for kids who tend to worry. It can also be a really really hard thing to get when you are a natural worrier. A calming bedtime routine with ample time to wind down is a must. I find that laying down in the dark after reading and just chatting with my son is the magic recipe for him to open up and tell me what he’s worried about. I don’t always have the answers but worries usually lose a lot of their power once they are spoken out loud, even if no solution is offered up. For children aged 5-12 a full night of sleep is between 10-11 hours. While some need more very few typically developing children need less. If your child is expressing school anxiety while you try to address more specific causes, try adding in some more shut eye so whatever else is troubling them they are better prepared to deal with it.
2. Hungry = Hangry
A full belly isn’t just about physical energy. Have you ever noticed how angry you can be when you are hungry? Distracted, emotional, impatient… and that’s just me! Kids need to have a full belly to handle all the challenges both emotional and intellectual at school. There is not a ton parents can really control ( even if we may want to) after we send our kids off to school but we can make sure they are ready and a nutritious breakfast is something wee can do. For parents that can’t many times teachers step in.
Quaker and Adopt A Classroom is trying to change that. I’m inviting you to join Quaker in supporting teachers nationwide. From July 7 to Sept. 30, purchase specially -marked Quaker products and enter the unique package codes online at www.QuakerUpForClassrooms.com. For every code entered online, Quaker will donate $1 to AdoptAClassroom.org up to $250,000 (minimum donation of $150,000) to help fuel classrooms across the country. Plus, you’ll get a coupon for $1 off Quaker products. Learn more at www.QuakerUpForClassrooms.com.
When children are able to focus on the task at hand they are less likely to end up in situations that might create new worries.
3. Get A Sneak Peek
Keeping children (especially those who worry) in the loop about what they are expected to do is really important. If you have a meet and greet do not skip it. Even if you can’t go and have to send a babysitter or grandparent for those kids that worry about the unknown these lower pressure events are perfect. If you do go take a bunch of pictures. You can make it seem like you are super awesome scrapbooker who documents everything when in reality those pictures are to pour over for the next few days to prepare your child who needs that extra prep. The 5 photos I grabbed of my son’s kindergarten class during the open house really helped him feel ready to walk in the doors a few days later.
I love this post from Modern Parents Messy Kids on preparing a child for preschool. They use pictures as well!
4. Practice Your Morning Routine.
Even a well fed, well rested, and generally chill kid can be completely thrown off by ” Oh my gosh we are late, shoes, get your shoes, where are your shoes? What? You have gym today? Crap where are your socks, we are going to be late just put them on on the bus…”
Know how long it will take you to get out that door and practice it. Everyone will be calmer because of it.
5. Connect Before School
If you are able to make friendship connections before school starts that is ideal, though not always possible. Play dates early on in the school year can help insecure children feel like that classroom is a more friendly place.
6. Read About School.
I would be completely inauthentic if I didn’t include the advice to use books as tools to prepare and break the ice about worries. Here is a list of books about school for you to check out!
As stated above I was compensated by Quaker for my role as a classroom ambassador. All the advice is just from me.